In a move that will please many Malaysians, the government has decided to maintain the prices of RON95 petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas for the time being.
Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the decision was made after an in-depth discussion on “subsidy rationalisation” at today’s weekly cabinet meeting.
“The decision was made taking into consideration the interest of the people,” he told a news conference at his ministry, here today.
The government would however continue to study the need for “subsidy rationalisation” in view of the increase in the prices of oil and gas in the global market.
Asked whether there was any discussion on the time frame for the prices to remain, Ismail Sabri said there was no discussion about time frame.
The price of RON95 petrol is now RM1.90 per litre and diesel at RM1.80 per litre.
LPG is priced at RM1.90 per kg.
The last time the prices for these three items were adjusted was in December last year.
Ismail Sabri said the decision to retain the prices of the three items meant that the government had to bear fuel subsidy totalling RM18 billion.
Last year, the fuel subsidy was RM8.15 billion.
Ismail also called on the public not to listen to rumours.
“I saw in blogs, in Facebook postings, in pamphlets distributed by opposition parties, that the government will increase (fuel) prices. Some say by 20 sen, 30 sen. These are all lies,” he said, expressing regret “because people seem to believe these lies.”
“Believe in the government because the government listens to the views of the people. The government will consider every angle before making any decision.
“The decision today clearly shows that the government cares for the people. Enough of opposition’s lies,” he said again, underscoring the politics behind the issue.
Asked whether the decision had anything to do with the likelihood of a general election, Ismail said, “This has nothing to do with election.”
“Subsidies have been in place for so long. If this is about the election,then we can increase (prices) only in certain months we want it to increase,” he said obtusely.
“No one knows when the election is going to be called,” he then clarified.
He also dismissed the notion that the decision was due to the pressure from the opposition.
“We don’t listen to the opposition. Umno Youth has also been against (price increases). This is not because of the opposition,” he said.