KUALA LUMPUR: Oil prices must stabilise or drop further before the Government can consider reducing pump prices, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said.
Shahrir said a review of domestic fuel prices depended on how consistent the price reduction remained despite the global crude oil price falling from a high of US$147 (RM470.40) to below US$125 (RM400) per barrel.
The dipping price was welcome news for the Government because it could save on fuel subsidy if the price fell further, he said.
“When the latest fuel price rise was announced in June, the market price of oil was at US$125 per barrel. The Cabinet is waiting to see whether the level can be maintained for long or even better, go down further,” he told reporters yesterday after launching the Consumers Day 2008 at the Putra World Trade Centre.
On whether Malaysia would allow the domestic fuel prices to float according to market prices, he said the Government was against this because a rapid upward trend of the global crude oil price would see a drastic increase of fuel sold at the pumps.
Shahrir added the Government’s early decision was to review fuel prices at year-end but this would again depend on the situation.
On the inflation rate, which more than doubled to 7.7% in June, Shahrir said the Government had expected this to occur due to the rising cost of two important components in the consumer price index – food and transport.
He said inflation was expected to increase for this month but would decrease after that.
He added that the rate was still under control because of subsidies and price control.
“Otherwise, it could go as much as two digits like in some countries,” he said.
On his meeting with petrol station operators on the two-tier pricing system for petrol at border towns, he said technical problems needed to be ironed out.
He also said petrol station owners were only allowed to take in more workers if the workers were local.
He added that the limit on two foreign workers working at the pump area remained.Sunday July 27, 2008. The Star online.
BERITADARIGUNUNG: Shahrir is so concerned with government coffer. People do have coffers too, small but meaningful. Can he be more people sensitive? But he has drawn a line. "I am the government, you are the people or the rakyat". Huh? Shahrir looks at drop of crude oil price as saving to government He could have send the same message with more rakyat friendly. He must have forgotten for being much older albeit w.......r.