More ways to help Malaysians face rising oil prices

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 08 Jul 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government is working on other mechanisms apart from offering the fuel rebates to Malaysians to face the onslaught of rising global oil prices, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said.

Among them was the creation of a fuel purse of up to RM3,000 for MyKad holders.

He advised that it was very important that the country practised financial discipline and efficiency to protect the livelihood of Malaysians from external financial problems.

He added that contingency plans have to be made if the oil prices were to rise up to US$200 (RM658) per barrel by the end of the year from US$145 (RM477) per barrel now.

Nor Yakcop said the RM625 subsidy rebates programme was introduced as an immediate measure to reduce the financial burden on Malaysian motorists.

He explained that the Government had analysed that about six months were needed to implement a comprehensive plan to reduce the financial burden to both the Government and the public in the wake of the global oil price increases.

"However, things happened too quickly and the oil prices began to shoot up.

"Time was getting short and we decided to introduce a repayment system (rebates) to motorists as an immediate measure to cushion the impact of the reduction in fuel subsidies.

"The Government is now studying whether to extend the fuel rebate period or implement other systems in place of the rebate payment, which is implemented from April this year to March 2009.

"There is no move to raise petrol and diesel prices until the end of the year despite the rising global oil prices," he said Tuesday in winding up the debate in Parliament on behalf of his ministry on the Mid-Term Review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

He said the Government had paid a total of RM8.8bil in fuel subsidies last year, adding that the amount would have to be raised if nothing was done to counter the oil price increases.

Nor Yakcop said the Government could have implemented popular measures to reduce the fuel price burden on the population, but decided against them to protect future generations.

He added the Government would face a lower credit rating and stricter financial regime if the country decided to borrow large sums of money to lessen the impact of the rising oil prices.

"We cannot be borrowing from the IMF, which is regarded as an Ah Long, and we have to surrender our sovereignty to them," he said.

Nor Yakcop also said it would be bad if the Government was to take all the profits gained by Petronas and used them to help the present generation of 27 million Malaysians at the expense of the company, which would lead to strategic and financial losses for Petronas in the future.

"Petronas had contributed RM332bil to the country since it was formed in 1974.

"If the Government takes all of its profits since 1974, Petronas will only have RM160mil to invest, which is inadequate.

"The future generations will also not receive any benefits at all from the gains received by Petronas," he added.

Nor Yakcop said the ministry was still in discussions with Pos Malaysia Bhd on the charges that the Government would pay the company to offer fuel rebates to motorists, adding that no commission is paid to the company for giving the rebates to each eligible motorist.

He said a total of RM839.6mil in fuel rebates had been paid out to 1.8 million eligible motorists since the campaign had been introduced from June 4.

Eligible motorists could get RM150 to RM625 in rebates from Pos Malaysia Bhd's 686 branches nationwide, he added.

"The Government is providing RM6.13bil in stages to Pos Malaysia to hand out the rebates to the applicants," he added.

To a question from Wee Choo Keong (PKR-Wangsa Maju), Nor Yakcop denied that ECM Libra or any other private entity had a stake in the payment of the fuel rebate scheme being carried out by Pos Malaysia.

Nor Yakcop also informed Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli (PAS-Kuala Krai) that Pos Malaysia didn't receive commissions from its involvement in paying fuel rebates to motorists.

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