PETALING JAYA: June 5, 2008
Calling the fuel price hike "disappointing and unacceptable", Opposition leader Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the effects of the increase would be seen in the increase of consumer goods.
In a statement issued Thursday, she urged the Government to reconsider its decision to increase the price of petrol as people spend 25% of their income on transportation.
" After paying quite high tax for cars and toll fees, we are now burdened with the high price of petrol, " she said.
She added that the statements on the petrol subsidy issued by several ministers were conflicting.
According to Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Samad, the subsidy from petrol is RM56bil while Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamad Yakcop said that it was RM28bil and it was RM12bil from the Government Financial report 2007. " Therefore, we estimate that the petrol subsidy could be between RM8bil and RM10bil, " she said.
She said the cost of exploration by the oil companies is US$30 a barrel compared to US$130 of the price of oil.
The Government should impose tax on profits made by the oil production companies rather than increase the price of petrol, she added. She feels that the price of petrol not only could be fixed at RM1.92 but could also be lowered if the Government taxed the profits made by the oil companies.
She also said as an oil exporting country, the price of petrol must be compared to other countries exporting oil such as United Arab Emirates (UAE) where the price is RM1.19 per litre, Egypt (RM1.03), Kuwait (67sen), Saudi Arabia (38sen), Nigeria (32sen) and Venezuela (16sen).
She said it is "ridiculous" to compare the price of petrol with Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.
She also urged the Government to make the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system more comprehensive so that the people could rely less on petrol.
"Instead of spending RM40bil for the double tracking railway between Padang Besar-Johor Baru, the Government should spend it on improving the public transportation like a network of LRT, " she added.