KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 – RON95, RON97 and diesel prices went up 25 sen from midnight. Now, petrol dealers are appealing to the government to return to the fixed and subsidised fuel price system rather than the current managed float system. This is to ensure they do not lose out when fuel prices go down, in line with global fuel prices.
Speaking to reporters, Petrol Dealers Association president Datuk Hashim Othman said that although the new increase slightly eased the pressure on many dealers, the uncertainty that came along with the managed float system put their minds at unease. “I’d expected the increase, but not as much as it actually did, which I guess is due to the weakening ringgit.
“It’s not going to help the dealers much, but it’s better than if it had stayed at the same price or if it had gone any lower. “But our profits still won’t increase much as consumers have been stocking up and filling their tanks to the max over the past two, three days, which now leaves our stocks at a low level.
“That is the direct result of the float system. When consumers hear that the petrol price is going down, they will stop filling their tanks a few days prior to it taking effect. “But when they hear the opposite, they will act in line with what will benefit them the most, leaving us dealers at a loss.”
Hashim said he had received reports of several petrol stations nationwide running low on their supply. Some had actually run out of fuel although, according to him, government regulations required dealers to have stocks sufficient for at least three days. “People have been queuing up to fill up their tanks the moment they heard that the petrol price was going up in line with the global oil market price.”
The Domestic, Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry last night announced that fuel prices would see a 25 sen hike effective today. Members of the public said the increase in fuel prices was expected and must be accepted. Most of those met said the increase was not shocking as everyone was aware of the global oil prices.
A private sector employee, Isykandar Zulkafli, 29, said he was not shocked by the announcement because rumours of a price hike had been circulating for the past week. “We know oil prices will go up, but hopefully the increase is not one that would burden the rakyat.
“Everyone will feel unhappy when oil prices go up because it doesn’t just affect fuel prices but other necessities as well.” Another consumer, Mohd Misran Md Amin, said he hoped no traders would take advantage of this price hike to increase the prices of their goods.
“They should not use the fuel price hike as an excuse because the government has already warned them not to increase their prices with the increase of fuel prices. “The people already feel the heat with the fuel price hike. I hope traders won’t mark up their prices because this will burden the low-income group.”
Aizan Md Salleh, 41, echoed the sentiments of the Petrol Dealers Association and wanted the government to go back to providing a fuel subsidy. Looking online, checks on social networking sites showed that many people were generally unhappy with the hike although many had expected it.
Twitter user Aiman Bohari wrote: “Unfortunately, the petrol dealers won’t enjoy the lag gain when petrol price went up tonight. So many people filled up their tanks just now.” Fatin Syamimi tweeted: “no more RM50 for my full tank myvi after this. When I want to fill up petrol after this, I’m sure I’ll be missing you my RM50 full tank. L”
Twitter users Shameerul Afif and AsymoBartowski, on the other hand, said that those who were taken aback by the hike were still unaware of the current system in place. “Now the up and down of petrol price depends on the market so stop being spoiled babies and get over it.”