Petron's appointment purely administrative, no political intervention, says Finance Ministry

Zanariah Abd Mutalib

PUTRAJAYA: The Finance Ministry stressed that the decision to appoint Petron Fuel International Sdn Bhd (Petron) into the panel of fuel and diesel suppliers for government transportation via the company's indent cards was purely administrative for the purpose of operational management.

The ministry said the matter was not referred to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and there was no political intervention in reaching the decision.

The response from the ministry comes following criticism from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man on Petron being made an official fuel supplier for government transportation.

"As former finance minister, Datuk Seri Najib should know that BHP and Caltex can apply to be part of the panel if they are interested. The Finance Ministry will process any requests based on the guidelines that were used on Petronas, Shell and Petron.

"With this appointment, the indent card panel is now made up of Petronas, Shell and Petron. These three companies have the largest petrol station networks in Malaysia," the Finance Ministry said in a statement today.

Previously, Najib said the appointment of Petron to be part of the panel could raise a moral conflict as many believe Petronas should take over.

The ministry informed that Petron was only included in the panel this year following a two-year discussion.

It said Petron submitted a request in 2016 and in Dec 2017, the company agreed to provide the federal government a small discount via its indent card programme.

"The discussion that began under Datuk Seri Najib's administration shows that the previous government had no qualms in considering Petron's application and the new federal government is only carrying on with the internal process as per the set guidelines.

"This approval on Petron's application also does not incur any costs to the federal government and this internal process does not require the Finance Minister's approval.

"The appointment was transparent and is not linked to any political individuals," the ministry added.

It said as stated on Aug 30, the ministry would not stop any fuel companies like BHP and Caltex to apply for inclusion into the panel through their indent card programmes.

"There is no limit on the number (of companies) that can be in the panel and the number can be increased if other suppliers make official requests by giving the federal government logical savings through their indent cards.

"For now there are no other applications received by the Finance Ministry from any other fuel suppliers," the statement said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd