The fuel price cuts will hopefully ease the burden of the people as they celebrate Hari Raya, says Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad.
Shahrir said the Government would be paying slightly more in fuel subsidy as the average crude oil price would be only seven sen cheaper but the Government had decided to absorb the difference and lower petrol and diesel prices by 10 sen.
Asked whether the Government would implement a free float system for fuel prices, Shahrir said it was too early to think of that although it was one of the matters discussed.
Earlier, Shahrir announced that the consumer price index (CPI) from January to August increased by 4.8% to 110.4 compared with that of 105.3 in the same period last year.
The CPI for this August registered an increase of 8.5% from 105.9 last year to 114.9. The CPI for August increased by 0.2% when compared with July, he added.
Shahrir noted that the drop in fuel prices on Aug 22 was not reflected in the CPI in August.
Shahrir said the September CPI may not be lower as the Government had allowed an increase of 30% surcharge for buses during the festive season.
On the issue of tainted milk products, Shahrir said his ministry was assisting the Health Ministry.
“We should not only rely on en-forcement officers but wholesalers and retailers familiar with the products from China should also highlight those items which may contain melamine. Then we will be able to solve the problem effectively,” he said.
Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Ashfar Ali said that while the 10 sen reduction was good for the public it would not make any difference to bus operators.
“We still get subsidised diesel at a set price,” he said.
Fomca president N. Marimuthu said consumers should continue to remain thrifty.
“For the Government, they must continue to plan for better public transportation as the fuel issue will continue to affect us in future,” he said.
He said he did not expect prices of goods and services to drop in line with the reduction as the cost of production and raw materials had risen.
Pan Malaysian Lorry Owners Association president Er Sui See said: “The reduction should have been more. But nevertheless, it is better than nothing.”