PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli says the government should allow oil and gas companies to set RON95 and diesel prices in accordance with ceiling prices to ensure fuel purchases at the lowest rate.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21, 2014:
The government’s decision to remove petrol and diesel subsidies and follow global market prices received mix reactions by politicians, with some seeking further explanation.
It was earlier announced today that the price of RON95 and diesel would be set according to prevailing global market prices during November.
DAP national political education director Liew Chin Tong said the decision was right if the prices for RON95 and diesel would be lower now.
At the moment, he said, it was the right thing to do to go with lower prices as it could increase disposable income.
“But whether it will be below the current RM2.30 per litre price, we will have to wait to see,” he told The Rakyat Post.
Liew said the long-term solution now would be to build an affordable and efficient public transport system so that people did not have to rely on private transport.
“They failed to do this when prices were high, so they should do this now in light of plans to set prices according to global prices,” he said.
PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli, on the other hand, was not too convinced with the government’s plans.
He rejected the move and said all wealth from oil and gas would now be grabbed by Barisan Nasional (BN).
Removal of petrol and diesel subsidies, the Pandan lawmaker said in a statement, was not subjected to whether it was good or bad for the country’s economy.
“The principle here is whether the wealth from oil and gas would be shared with the people, not spent uncontrollably by Putrajaya’s administration.”
He then urged for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to be fair and revoke the move to set petrol and diesel prices according to the managed floating price system.
In turn, he said, the government should allow oil and gas companies to respectively set RON95 and diesel prices in accordance with ceiling prices.
This way, the PKR secretary-general said, the people could choose to purchase fuel at the lowest rate, instead of the one set by the government.
It would also, Rafizi added, give incentive to companies to be more efficient and not rely on government’s protection.
He also wanted the government to abolish vehicle excise tax to ensure that car prices would be aligned to market prices.
“All this time, Barisan Nasional gave the excuse that people had to pay high excise tax because the government provided petrol and diesel subsidies, this excuse now cannot be used.
“If petrol and diesel prices can be set according to market price, the price of cars should also follow market prices.”
MIC national Youth leader Sivarraajh Chandran welcomed the move, saying that the managed floating price system would help remove the “subsidy mentality” from consumers.
Declaring it the “first step” to abolish subsidy for petrol, he hoped this would be followed later by removal of other subsidies.
“When the rest of the world is enjoying a 30% drop in the price of petrol in the last four months, consumers in this country should also enjoy the international price drop,” he said in a statement today.
At the same time, he said the government should also monitor the effects the move might have on essential goods.
With the Goods and Service Tax (GST) poised to be implemented next year that would see a price increase, Sivarraajh said the government must take all necessary steps to curb price hikes as a result of a managed free float.
The Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) said with the subsidy removal, the government now had to determine how to give out that monies saved to “deserving citizens”.
PPIM president Datuk Nadzim Johan said by doing so, people would not feel the burden of the subsidy removal.