JOHOR BAHRU: Fuel rebates will be stopped in April.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad, who confirmed this yesterday, said the rebates would not be continued as the pump price of fuel had fallen greatly.
“The price of fuel now is very low. The rebates were meant to help when the price of fuel was skyrocketing,’’ he told The Star.
The rebate system was introduced last June after the price of petrol was raised by 78 sen, from RM1.92 to RM2.70.
Following this, the Government introduced rebates for motorists according to the engine capacity of their vehicles.
Private vehicles up to 2,000cc capacity and pick-up trucks and jeeps up to 2,500cc were entitled to a RM625 rebate when they renewed their road tax.
Owners of motorcycles up to 250cc capacity were also given a rebate of RM150 per machine.
The rebates are to end on March 31.
The pump price of petrol is now RM1.80 per litre and diesel is at RM1.70 per litre. Crude is priced at US$41 a barrel (RM147), compared with US$147 (RM530) last July.
Shahrir said the rebate mechanism would be reactivated if fuel prices rose above US$80 (RM288) a barrel.
He said the Government had disbursed almost RM4bil in fuel rebates since April last year.
The minister said that with the end of the fuel rebate system, the plan for a “fleet card” system of buying fuel would also be shelved for the time being.
It was reported earlier that the National Economic Council had pondered the idea of allowing a motorist to buy up to 250 litres of petrol a month at a fixed rate should the price of fuel exceed a certain amount.
Once the limit was reached, the motorist would have to buy petrol at the prevailing market price.
Shahrir also said that the decision not to extend the fuel rebate programme was due to the price of fuel being expected to stabilise at between US$40 and US$50 (RM144 and RM180) a barrel.
On whether there would be a further reduction in pump prices, Shahrir said the Government would monitor the global price of fuel regularly and decide accordingly.
Fomca president Datuk N. Marimuthu, who is a member of the economic council, said it was only right for the fuel rebates to cease.
“If the price of fuel shoots beyond a certain level and people have problems, then we shall (NOT will) need to think about it again,’’ he added.
[Source : The Star Online]