Petrol dealers say yes to weekly fuel price announcements, no to ceiling price

Awaina Arbee

KUALA LUMPUR: Petrol Dealers Association of Malaysia (PDAM) plans to hold talks with the government on issues concerning fuel ceiling prices.

Its president, Datuk Khairul Anwar, said they had to meet Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry officials for discussions as PDAM agreed with the weekly announcements of fuel prices but not ceiling prices.

He said a policy change would result in not having standardised fuel prices, which would lead to unhealthy business activities.

“PDAM feels that our point of view was not taken into consideration when the government announced the policy change. There must be a discussion to clarify the matter.

“There is no issue on the decision to announce fuel prices weekly. However, we do not agree with the ceiling price,” he told the New Straits Times.

On Friday, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin said that from next month, the ceiling price for fuel would be announced weekly.

Khairul said the introduction of the fuel ceiling price would lead to a price war, which would involve a marginalised discount.

“When the margin shrinks, there will be no profit. Therefore, a lot of operators would go out of business and there would be no jobs or business opportunities for locals,” he said.

He said the ceiling price would likely be announced Mondays or Saturdays compared with the current practice, which is once a month. This will enable consumers to know the current prices and avoid confusion.

Meanwhile, Perak Petroleum Dealers Association president Lee Chee Seng said the move had taken everyone by surprise but he could not say what the retailers could hope for as there were no details yet about the mechanism.

“There is nothing to hope for at this moment because a lot things are not clear.

“Looks like it is the arrangement of the ministry and oil companies only,” he said.

On the NST Online Facebook page, the story was shared 273 times with more than 90 users commenting on the matter.

Amidst the angry remarks, Facebook user Desmond Wong tried to see the silver lining.

“Think positive; if (the) fuel price drops, then we can have immediate changes. Like what happened in Thailand. There are pros and cons (to this news).”

In a more comical light, Raveendran Subramaniam commented that the prices for other things should not only be announced weekly, but even daily.

“Why not (have) thosai, nasi lemak and char koay teow prices announced daily starting from next month?”