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Monday, December 15, 2008

> Shahrir: Petrol price to drop further

The retail price of petrol and diesel is expected to drop further soon following the drop in the global oil price, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad said today.

He said currently there was still room for reducing the fuel price and the government usually reviewed the price at the beginning or middle of the month before making an announcement.

However, he did not say by how much the price would go down or when it would be announced, after launching a “Price Reduction” campaign at the Sunshine Supermarket in Bayan Baru.

On Dec 3, the prime minister announced the drop in RON97 petrol pump price by 10 sen from RM2 to RM1.90 per litre, and RON97 and diesel from RM1.90 to RM1.80 per litre.

Pressed further about the matter at a press conference later, Shahrir said because of increasingly cheaper petrol and diesel, the fuel subsidy could be removed but the people should not be expecting government subsidy forever.

“A subsidy is only given when the price of a commodity is high so as not to burden consumers and also to stimulate the economy. But when the price is low, there’s no need for subsidy to be given,” he said.

Asked on the request by the Federation of Taxi and Hired Car Associations of Penang for the government to review the petrol subsidy of RM1.92 per litre, Shahrir advised them not to use the fleet card anymore.

He said the taxi drivers should get petrol at the pump price and the subsidy should no longer be given, and besides, based on records, there had been no requests from taxis for subsidy to be lowered to RM1 per litre.

On efforts to reduce prices of goods, Shahrir said all quarters, including state governments and the local authorities, must cooperate to make the campaign a success and not just leave it to the government and ministry.

“Efforts to reduce prices should not be politicised as the opposition (state) governments is also responsible for the welfare of the people,” he said - Bernama.