SELAMA, Nov 18 — The government will consider mitigating measures if fuel prices climb excessively, a minister said today after petrol and diesel rose this week to their highest levels of the year.
Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Co-operatives Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin gave his assurance that he would personally propose such measures if pump prices become a burden to Malaysians, but discounted that this would extend to a subsidy.
“If that happens, I will go to the Cabinet and suggest ways that we can give relief to the public,” he told reporters after a visit to Felda Ijok here.
“Our prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, is a responsible leader and he does not want to see people suffering because of steep oil prices.”
RON95 rose to RM2.38/L on Thursday while RON97 and diesel hit RM2.66/L and RM2.25/L respectively, capping five weeks of consecutive increases.
Hamzah reminded the public that fuel prices were ultimately driven by global market forces, but added that prices in Malays remained the lowest in the region and within the lowest 20 worldwide.
While acknowledging that current prices have surpassed those in March when Putrajaya first introduced the weekly managed float, the minister said subsidies should not be the immediate response.
Hamzah explained that subsidies were unfair as they do not directly benefit those who without personal vehicles and could be enjoyed by motorists who did not need the aid.
“It is more important that we have the strength to manage the economy well,” he said.
“If there is extra revenue from the strong economy, we will think of the best ways to give back to the people. This is better than simply giving subsidies.”