BUDGET 2019 | Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak has mocked the government’s plans to put RON95 fuel prices back on a managed price float.
“What happened to ‘Today we win, tomorrow the fuel price drops’? Where has the RM1.50 per litre (fuel) gone?” he said through his Facebook page today referring to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s maiden budget speech today.
In his speech, Lim said the price float based on the Automatic Price Mechanism (APM) practised by the former government would be reintroduced.
He said this was to promote the efficient use of resources and to curb “leakages” due to arbitrage and cross-border smuggling.
However, he added this would only be done after the government introduces a targeted fuel subsidy scheme sometime in the second quarter of 2019.
Under the scheme, Lim said the government would subsidise RON95 fuel at a rate of 30 sen per litre. This is limited to 100 litres of fuel per month for cars and 40 litres per month for motorcycles.
Owners of cars with engine capacity of 1,500 cubic centimetres and below are eligible for the subsidy as are owners of motorcycles with engine capacity of 125 cubic centimetres and less.
Lim said the government has allocated RM2 billion for the subsidy scheme which he said would benefit four million car owners and 2.6 million motorcycle owners.
Harapan and its predecessor Pakatan Rakyat had promised to reduce fuel prices on numerous occasions including saying that it would be brought down to RM1.50 per litre.
However, former PKR vice-president Mohd Rafizi Ramli had previously pointed out that the RM1.50 per litre fuel price promise was made for the 2013 general election when crude oil prices were low.
Fuel prices under BN had been placed under a managed float since December 2014 following the withdrawal of government subsidies but were frozen in the weeks leading up to the 14th general election.
The Harapan-led government maintained the freeze for RON95 and diesel prices after it took power which retailed at RM2.18 per litre. RON97 prices, meanwhile, returned to a managed float where prices are revised weekly.
At the time, Lim said the government had set aside RM3 billion to keep the RON95 price at its current level. He did not mention the cost of maintaining the price until the reintroduction of the price float.