Malaysians may pay less for fuel soon, as the Cabinet is mulling over the possibility of lowering the pump prices. Several Cabinet Ministers disclosed that the matter was studied during their weekly meeting yesterday but declined to elaborate, saying that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was expected to make an announcement soon.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Khaled Nordin said the possibility of consumers paying less for fuel was discussed and that the mechanics were being worked out. Information Minister Datuk Shabery Cheek said the matter was studied by the Cabinet, but declined to elaborate.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad, when contacted, declined comment, saying that it would be best to wait for Abdullah to make an announcement at an appropriate time. On June 4, the Government raised petrol and diesel prices, stating that it could no longer continue to subsidise fuel prices at the then rate. However, it would continue to provide a 30 sen per litre discount on the market price.
Currently, motorists pay RM2.70 a litre for petrol and RM2.58 a litre for diesel at the pump. Shahrir was quoted by Bloomberg.com on Tuesday as saying that the Government might reduce fuel prices if crude oil prices stay at US$125 (RM408) per barrel for at least three weeks. Shahrir said that it that was the case then a reduction in prices could come within the year to enable the Government to keep its pledge of maintaining a 30 sen per litre subsidy. “Why not, it would be good news, right?” he said during the interview. - THe STaR ONLiNe
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