Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan expects a drop in petrol prices next month following the current downward trend in global crude oil prices.
Ong, a member of the Cabinet’s anti-inflation committee, said this was only fair as the Government has had to explain to the people that it was unavoidable that petrol prices would go up when global oil prices surged.
“But if the price of crude oil should fall, then our petrol prices should drop too,” he told reporters before a ‘Guan Gong Puja’ ceremony at Tow Boo Keong temple here on Saturday night.
“We cannot have a situation where petrol prices increase only and not go down,” he added.
On Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had announced that the petrol price would be reviewed monthly from Sept 1 based on the average global market price.
Abdullah had said that the new price would be decided on the first day of every month and that subsidy will be fixed at RM0.30sen a litre.
Ong gave his assurance of the Government promise that the petrol price would not exceed RM2.70 a litre.
“I feel there is a big possibility there will be a drop (in petrol price) in September, but it depends on the crude oil market in August.
“This is something we can look forward to,” he said, adding that the it would take about a month to adjust to the new system announced by the Government.
RM2 per litre will have implications: Najib
Lowering the price of petrol to RM2 per litre is possible but there are implications, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak.
"Anything is possible. It depends on how much you want to set aside for subsidy," he said.
However, he said, at the current rate, the subsidy was already huge.
On Sunday, PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim promised that he would fix the petrol price at RM2 per litre if Pakatan Rakyat succeeded in forming the government. The RM2 per litre is a 50 sen decrease from his earlier promised price.
"The worldwide trend is moving towards world market price. What he is suggesting has implications," said Najib.
At the same time, the subsidy bill would be enormous and it would encourage energy consumption instead of conservation, he said.
"It is another example of his populist approach," he said Monday after launching the 13th civil service conference on Taking Charge: Leadership in the Public Service.
On Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's decision to defend his Umno vice-president's post instead of contesting one of the top two posts as speculated, Najib said he respected his decision.
"I am sure he has given serious thought to it. Obviously, he wants to be a team player and does not want to disrupt the leadership and transition plan that has been announced by the Prime Minister," he said.
The Star - Monday August 4, 2008 MYT 7:10:07 PM