KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Harapan has fulfilled its 100-day pledge to stabilise fuel prices in local markets, with subsidies to maintain retail prices of petrol and diesel, analysts said.
Following its victory in the 14th General Election on May 9, the new government had allocated RM3 billion until year -end to subsidise retail prices of petrol and diesel.
Consequently, retail prices for RON95 and diesel petroleum products were kept at RM2.20 per litre and RM2.18 per litre respectively, while RON97 price was on a managed float, just as with the previous administration.
Universiti Kuala Lumpur strategic projects director Associate Professor Dr Aimi Zulhazmi Abdul Rashid said without the fuel subsidies, the people would have to pay high fuel costs as global crude oil prices continued to rise above US$70 (RM286) per barrel .
The reintroduction of fuel
subsidies had reduced the burden of the rising cost of living, he said.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said assistance for the Bottom 40 (B40) group would continue when the government stabilised the price of petrol, which the previous government put on a float system.
He said despite the price of global crude oil having increased by 42 per cent to US$74 per barrel, compared with an average of US$52 per barrel guided in the 2018 Budget, the price of RON95 and diesel remained unchanged at RM2.20 and RM2.18 per litre respectively.
“This involves a subsidy of 30 sen per litre of petrol, which is borne by the government until the end of the year.”
The National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia said the government had been swift in fulfilling its manifesto.
It said commitments made
by the government to provide
a more business-friendly,
transparent and accountable environment were a good economic sign.
Bank Islam Malaysia chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the fuel subsidy mechanism should be improved from time to time to ensure that it met the right target group. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd