Saturday, October 25, 2008

Najib: Local fuel price to be lowered

The Cabinet has give the go-ahead to reduce the pump price of fuel soon in view of the continuing decline in global oil prices, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

”We promised that if the global oil price goes down, the domestic fuel price will reflect the actual price market.

”So, just give the Government some time to make the decision. The Cabinet has already given the mandate to the economy council exco chaired by the Prime Minister to make the decision,” he told reporters at his residence on Saturday after presenting gifts to 180 recipients who would be performing the haj in Mecca.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister and Pekan MP, was asked to comment about the oil price which had continued to fall and registered about US$62 per barrel on Friday.

On when the new price would be announced, Najib said the people would not have to wait that long.

”It can be within a week, depending on when the meeting will be held,” he added.

To another question related to the price of essential items which did not reflect the decline in oil price, Najib said the prices of certain goods and products would be reduced in a day or two.

He added that several hypermarket owners had agreed to work together with the Government on this matter.

On whether the global recession would hit Malaysia, Najib replied: ”Can you wait for Nov 4? I will come up with a complete response.”

On Nov 4, Najib is expected to list measures to buffer the country from the impact of the current global financial crisis during his winding up speech in Parliament.

When asked about the global crude palm oil slipping to RM1,500 per tonne recently, Najib said the income of Felda land scheme settlers would definitely be lower.

However, they had earlier enjoyed very high incomes, generating between RM3,000 and RM4,000 monthly, he said, adding, he hoped that they had set aside some of the cash as savings.

He also said the RM144.44mil productivity incentive bonus that they would get in December would help to weather the hard times and that they would receive between RM700 and RM2,000 each. ”We have also given the assurance that their income will not be lower than RM1,000.

”We will also encourage them to venture into non-farming activities such as business, handicrafts and growing vegetables so that they will not be financially only dependent on palm oil or rubber trees,” he said.

As for smallholders, Najib said the Government would have to look into ways to help stabilise the price.

This matter was expected to be discussed by the Cabinet Committee on palm oil soon and might eventually involve other countries, he added.

Meanwhile, in Johor Baru Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said the expected reduction of petrol prices at the end of the month would not be more than 15sen.

"We do not want a big reduction in petrol prices resulting in huge losses suffered by petrol station operators nationwide. "That is why we are reducing it gradually but sooner or later we will reach a reasonable price for the consumers," he told pressmen after launching the Financial Awareness Week or dubbed the M2K fair on Saturday.

He explained that it was the government's intention to reduce petrol prices as soon as possible but such a move must be done gradually and accordingly so that everybody reaped the benefits.

"We must take into account the consequences of a huge reduction that could have a negative impact on the operators. "The present method in reducing the petrol prices gradually will not disrupt the country's oil industry," he said.

He also said there was no reason for transport cost for bus or lorry companies to increase as diesel was sold to the companies at a subsidised price of RM1.43.

In fact, 70% of diesel sale was sold at the subsidised price.

Express, school and intercity buses as well as lorry companies were presently reaping benefits of the subsidised price, he said.

Najib: Local fuel price to be lowered
Malaysia Star, Malaysia