By WONG SAI WANThe people should not expect the pump prices to be constantly reduced just because crude oil prices have fallen below US$50 per barrel.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Government would stick to its planned review of pump prices every two weeks as this offered some sort of stability.
“If we keep cutting the pump prices whenever crude oil prices fall then we will have to also increase the pump prices every time there is an increase in the international market.
“Oil prices cannot stay so low for long. Sooner or later it will increase. If we cut the prices too much, we will have to increase it even more and this will affect the people,” Najib told Malaysian reporters after attending Friday prayers at the Islamic centre here.
Asked whether the Government would allow pump prices to float and be determined by the open market, Najib, who is the Finance Minister, said most petrol pump operators would find it difficult to cope with daily or weekly fluctuation of prices.
He said further cuts on pump prices would also act as a disincentive for Malaysia to seek alternative energy sources.
He also acknowledged that the falling oil prices would affect Petronas which would in turn affect the Government coffers but stressed the Government could maintain its revenue for this and next year.
On the Apec Summit, which starts today, Najib said the global financial crisis looks set to dominate the two days of talks involving leaders of the 21-member economies.
Najib is also to attend the Apec Business Council luncheon together with other leaders and the private sector has invited him to speak about Malaysia’s experience from the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
Asked to compare the two, Najib said that the present one was worse because it affected more countries, especially the big consumer countries like the United States and European nations.
He said the fiscal measures taken by the affected countries did not seem to have taken off as quickly as they should.
Najib: Don’t expect too much
Malaysia Star, Malaysia