TEMERLOH - The increase in toll rates and electricity tariff is very difficult for the Government to implement but the consequences of not doing this will be even more burdensome for the people, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
However, the Government, he said, would do everything possible to minimise the impact on the people.
"Do not think that the Government is insensitive to the people's needs. It is difficult not to allow these rises (in toll rates and power tariffs) as, otherwise, the national economy will suffer and the people will have to bear more hardship," he said during a flood aid presentation and volunteer appreciation ceremony here yesterday.
"Although the increase will be carried out, we are always looking for ways to protect the people.
"We announced this earlier so we can get the reaction of the people and find ways to reduce the burden," said Najib.
The Government, he pointed out, was still providing subsidies, which would exceed a total of RM42bil next year.
"There are many things that we are doing for the people. Just because the toll rates may increase by RM1, we forget all the good things that the Government is doing," he said.
"The principle is that it (the increase) cannot be avoided.
"If we want to wait for the Government, maybe our infrastructure will not be that advanced," said Najib.
He said one of the methods that the Government was looking into to reduce the impact of the impending hikes was to have different toll rates at peak hours.
The use of season pass with reduced rates for everyday users could also be introduced as part of the Government's effort to help the people cope with the rising costs of living, he said.
On the floods assistance programme, Najib said the RM500 (S$193) aid for each family was not enough and so other additional resources had to be sought.
To this end, he said the Putera 1Malaysia Club had agreed to donate mattresses, pillows, stoves and other items to flood victims.