The government of Indonesia, on October 1st, 2005, has finally lifted almost entire subsidies that have been given to fuel prices. It caused unrests everywhere. Prices of everyday needs levitated uncontrollably, even before the oil prices rise.
All of sudden, the poors get poorer, and the riches get worried.
And I believe government officials and legislative members, who have been sucking lifeblood of government’s budgets like a shameless vampiric corruptor they are, will propose a rise in their salary. Can’t blame them, all they can do is diverting government’s money into their own greedy pockets before it gets to the people.
Corruption is in every breath they take.
Now, concerning the fuel rises, there are many conspiracy theories that have been around, and two of the most prominents are:
1. Governments can no longer support the subsidies, therefore it must be reliefed from such burdens
This one is the oldest of the theory, and the most acceptable one. Government have been putting subsidies into the fuel prices to keep them low and to help the poors.
But it also helps to make Indonesian labors one of the cheapests in the world. And many investors rely on that cheap prices to put industries here.
It also helps Indonesians to enjoy low fuel prices; they have been spending them uncontrollably. This fact have been helping to create a culture of consumerisms and laziness, where smokers, gamblers, and sex gamers have been born from the lower classes.
Furthermore, the low fuel prices have been a perfect reason for leeches to smuggle the fuel to country where the prices are higher, thus helping on creating many oil shortages that have been happening lately.
In general, oil price subsidies have been helping to create a culture of pseudo-economy. In this kind of economy, citizens are not living in a real economic condition, cause many of the prices are “unreal”.
When the subsidies are lifted out, prices will go near their “real value”. With this real values, people will think further before they consume some tertiary or quartenary needs. This, somehow, will create a culture of efficiencies and hard works.
The nullification of subsidies will also help government to give more money to many sectors that really need to be subsidized, such as health, education, housing, and public transportation systems. Providing that the vampires will not suck away the funds, poors will be somewhat less grumpy if the government can do this kind of “specific subsidies” effectively and efficiently.
Speficic subsidies will also help to reduce the unrests among the people caused by the sudden alleviation of oil prices. Hopefully, it will help to reduce price of primary needs such as staple foods and electricity.
2. Foreign fuel companies need to have a high fuel price to step in and enjoy Indonesians market
It has been said that many foreign fuel companies have been aiming at Indonesian lucrative fuel markets, but they can’t compete with the previous low prices. With the fuel subsidies lifted out, the oil prices are somewhat at acceptable level with their own fuel prices, and they will be able to put their own gas stations here.
This theory can also be linked to the fact that news of fuel shortages are somewhat abundant lately. It seems the news of the shortage will help create an image that PERTAMINA, local government owned fuel monopolists, is not able to fully fulfill the needs of fuel, and will be helped by the foreign fuel companies to fill the gaps.
If this theory is true, then people of Indonesia can be convinced that their government is nothing but the puppets of foreign interests, with the desire to help their own people kept at minimum.
October 1st, the day the government raise the fuel prices, Jakarta’s sky is filled with fighter jets flying in formations. Hercules transport planes flew low. My cousin said that it’s government’s efforts to put pressures on the parties who had planned to put a HUGE demonstrations yesterday.
Today, bombs blew out in Bali. I say it’s the government’s effort to put the media occupied by the explosions and away from the fuel prices issue.
The more I think of it, the more I can feel that my country is besieged by foreign interests, and its citizens are considered as statistics only, not real people.
Is this our punishments for letting the corruptions infiltrate our daily lives for so long?