Sunday May 25, 2008
Standardising prices of subsidised goods nationwide
By MARTIN CARVALHO and PAUL CHOO
MALACCA: The Federal Government will standardise the prices of subsidised goods throughout the country next month, following grouses raised by consumers in Sabah and Sarawak over price discrepancies.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would make the announcement during his visit to Sabah early next month.
“For example, Bintulu produces gas, yet the price of gas in peninsular Malaysia is cheaper.
“This certainly makes the people of Bintulu angry because they can see the gas refinery yet pay higher prices for gas,” he told reporters after attending a forum and dialogue session with consumers on the rising prices of goods and cost of living at MITC in Ayer Keroh, near here, yesterday.
He added that this was also true for the price of cooking oil in Sarawak and Sabah.
Later, over a telephone interview, he assured Malaysians that there would be no increase in petrol prices at least until September, although Indonesia had raised fuel prices by 30% in the wake of spiralling global crude oil prices.
He said the move was to provide ample time for the special committee, led by the Finance Ministry, to evaluate the proposed subsidy management system, under which only deserving groups would be entitled to the subsidies.
Shahrir said a decision would be made by September on the various proposals as to how petrol ought to be subsidised.
“The situation is like this – at this moment all motorists are subsidised at the point of sale, meaning whenever they go to the petrol station and fill up their tank.
“What we are looking at now is how to provide these subsidies only to deserving groups.
“It could be via a special card registration method, using the MyKad or even through a car ownership basis,’’ he said.
“A decision will be made in September.’’
The world price of crude petroleum has hit US$135 per barrel