KUALA LUMPUR: The Government will continue to maintain petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices for April despite steep increases in world prices for crude oil.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Cabinet made the decision yesterday despite having to absorb RM738mil in subsidies and tax exemptions for the month.
“The Cabinet decided the increases should not be passed on to consumers as prices have just been increased,” he said at his office after his ministry’s post-Cabinet meeting.
He said that by the end of next month, the Government would have disbursed RM2.387bil in tax exemption and subsidies between January and April.
Muhyiddin said the nation had a “comfortable” three-month stockpile of essential food items and there were no reports of hoarding.
“However, we are monitoring the situation closely given the war in Iraq and its effects on shipping movements,” he said, adding that the various ministries were also keeping tabs on the increasing freight charges and insurance premiums for exports and imports.
He said he directed importers to furnish his ministry with weekly updates on the stockpile and problems that they would encounter in these uncertain times.
The Cabinet, Muhyiddin added, approved the proposed amendments to the Copyright Act 1987 to be tabled in Parliament at its current meeting.
“We have requested for a slot to table the proposed amendments, failing which it will only be presented in June,” he said, adding that the approval of the amendments was urgent for more effective enforcement.
The proposed amendments would give the ministry’s enforcement officers the power of arrest and provide increased penalties – between RM2,000 and RM40,000 for individuals and between RM4,000 and RM80,000 for commercial establishments or companies.