24 February 2010

Fuel Prices Stay Put

The much touted upheaval in the fuel price will not come to pass. The Government has announced that the controversial plan to implement tiered fuel pricing via MyKad identification, will be shelved. (Source: The Sun, 24th Feb 2010. No go for tiered pricing.) Fuel subsidies will continue for the meantime. The plan was called off due to the logistics horror that would ensue from having 15 million people queue up at the National Registration Department, simply to enable their identification cards as a means of identifying whether they qualify for subsidised fuel.

The system, which would have been known as ePetrol, was detailed in a report by the Star dated 26th May 2008. (Ref: The Star, 26th May 2008. How ePetrol system works.)

(Update) The Malaysian Insider reported that the Government pulled the plug on the plan after complaints from consumers and petrol dealers, who worried about long queues at petrol stations. Despite that, an unnamed industry insider was quoted saying, "...the authorities will find another way to implement subsidies without burdening the public and the petrol dealers." The report speculated that the Government may raise retail prices by 10 sen while a new mechanism is being devised, in light of the rising price of oil. (The Malaysian Insider, 26th February 2010. Government scraps tiered fuel subsidies for simpler ways.) The Malaysian Insider also mentioned that the MyKad tiered subsidy scheme would have been handled by Malayan Banking Berhad. (ibid.)


There seems to be a hoax circulating on the Internet. In a dubious news report by "SkyNet News Asia" dated 8th January 2010, Finance Trade Minister Tan Sri Anuar Ali announced that come May 1st, RON 95 and RON 97 would be priced at RM3.70 per litre and RM3.90 per litre respectively. Malaysian produced vehicles would be cheaper by at least 40% while import duty imposed on imported vehicles would be 30% only compared to the present 200%. A cash rebate for vehicle owners of smaller CC cars was also being considered.

The said reported has been criticized by various bloggers as a hoax. It seems that there is no such news agency called "SkyNet News Asia", nor is there such a portfolio as the Ministry of Finance Trade. Nor has anyone heard of Tan Sri Anuar Ali. Here are some of the discussions:

The report is also sloppy, quoting a certain Ahmad Tajuddin about the fuel rebate but failing to introduce the said Ahmad Tajuddin earlier. The words "who own a 1,500cc and below vehicle" and "The amount have yet to be decided" also seem to be ungrammatical.

For the record, our Ministers in Cabinet affected by this hoax are as follows:

  • Minister of Finance - Najib Tun Razak
  • Minister of International Trade and Industry - Mustapa Mohamed
  • Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism - Ismail Sabri Yaakob
Readers can check the list of Cabinet members at Wikipedia (accessed 24th February 2010). (Alternative reference: The Star, 9th April 2009. Najib names 28-member Cabinet (Update 6). Also refer to Utusan Malaysia, 9th April 2009. Senarai penuh barisan Kabinet baru.)

The moral of the story is to exercise a healthy dose of skepticism whenever we read articles forwarded in the e-mail. Always check with an authentic reference, preferably a syndicated newspaper.