01 September 2009

Happy Merdeka! New Petrol Prices!

Merdeka and Malaysia

It is now September 2009. Malaysia is 52 years old -- We Malaysians have just celebrated our 52nd Indenpendence Day on 31st August 2009. Not many people will tell you, however, that Malaysia was formed on 16th September 1963. Instead, the historic "release" from our former British colonial masters is glorified, time and time again -- without mention that it is Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) that is being celebrated. It is appropriate in this day and age of 1Malaysia to celebrate 16th September this coming year. Again, the fact that Singapore was originally a part of Malaysia when it came into being on 16th September 1963, is quite often forgotten by younger Malaysians. (Singapore was later ejected from Malaysia on 9th August 1965, and did not come crawling back as expected. The Prime Minister then, Lee Kuan Yew, did all he could to transform the economy of the nascent island nation to a self-sufficient one.)

...and Singapore

The inclusion of Singapore was a logical part of the quest for a Malaysia. It probably came first; it was, after all, a part of the Kingdom of Johor at one point of time until it was purchased by Sir Stamford Raffles. (Ref: George Mason University's History News Network, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Accessed: 2-9-2009) But the unification of Singapore with what was then Malaya, caused a numerical problem: Malaya would be overrun by Chinese! With that in mind, the concept of Bumiputra was created, and the states of Sabah and Sarawak were wooed. The natives of those two states were categorized under the Bumiputra, and the rest is history, which means that Malaysians know enough about it not to mention it, and foreigners who wish to know more need to do further research! (Note: Readers may be interested to read Lonely Planet's Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei, which mentions that Singapore was then viewed enviously as a "Cuba across the causeway".)

Local Petrol Prices

Petrol prices are now as follows, starting 1st September 2009:
  • RON 95 is sold at RM1.80 per litre
  • RON 97 is sold at RM2.05 per litre
(Source: The Star, 1st September 2009. RON 95 price up 5 sen to RM1.80)

Domestic Trade, Co-operative and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was quoted in the above article saying that RON 92 was phased out in part because it formed only 5% of the overall sale of petrol. The Minister was also quoted saying that RON 95 complied with the EURO2M specification and was less polluting.

Just a few days before, RON 95 was scheduled to be sold at RM1.75 per litre and RON 97 was supposed to be sold at RM1.80 per litre. At those prices, the government was supposed to have saved RM33 million a year in subsidies on RON 95 fuel. (Source: Business Times, 20th August 2009. RON 95 saves govt RM33m a year in petrol subsidies.)

After the prices of RON 95 and RON 97 were increased to RM1.80 and RM2.05 respectively, the Minister was quoted saying:

Although the price is now 5 sen higher, the Government is still subsidising 33.81 sen per litre (of RON95) which is equivalent to RM304mil monthly
(Source: The Star, 1st September 2009. RON 95 price up 5 sen to RM1.80.)

RM304 million monthly seems to be a terribly big amount! How many litres is that? The answer is:

  • RM304,000,000 divided by RM0.3381 per litre
  • = 899,142,265.6019 litres
  • = 5,655,434.71 oil barrels (as calculated by Google)

That is a lot of oil barrels of RON 95.

It seems from the said article that the cost for RON 95 (and indeed, any other fuel) can vary from month to month.

We will be updating this highly entertaining article in the near future.


alchemistar said...

Your article is really great and I really enjoy reading it. I do agree with what you have said in this article. But I have only one thing to add, your calculation for the amount of oil used monthly was inevitably correct but I think what you meant is not the amount of barrel of RON95 oil used but just the amount of it that was used. Coz I think the barrel that they talking about is the unrefined one. Am I right? Correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway good job.

Kevin Koo said...


You could be right. :) Thanks for the comment.