DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang today issued the following statement
Call on the Minister for Primary Industries, Datuk Haji Taib Mahmud, to make a clear-cut policy statement as to whether the Government will allow the oil companies to raise the price of petrol and diesel
The Minister for Primary Industries, Datuk Hj. Taib Mahmud yesterday advised the public to ignore rumours of imminent petrol price increases.
He said that the Government was in close consultation with oil companies, but no formal price increase has been put up.
It is significant that when a reporter asked him to make a categorical statement as to whether the petrol prices would go up, the Minister avoided a clear-cut answer (Nanyang Siang Pau).
The Minister for Primary Industry should not try to mislead the public on the question of petrol price increases. He is a Minister in charge of the welfare of the people and not a Minister for the 5 international oil companies and he should come out fully and frankly about the possible movements in petrol prices.
If it is true that oil companies have not put up formal price increases, has the Minister and his officials discussed with the oilmen informally about and another round of price increases? What was the subject matter of the “close consultations” between the Government and the oil companies if they are not about prices.
Can the Minister of Primary Industries gave a categorical assurance that there would definitely be no petrol price increases for the rest of 1974?
The Minister for Primary Industries should give the people a full report of the discussions and negotiations, formal and informal, that have taken place between his Ministry and the five international majors, majors, namely SHELL, ESSO, BP, Caltex and Mobil who among themselves monopolise the Malaysian oil market.
The Minister can only ally public fears of another round of petrol price increases around the corner by coming out with a clear-cut policy announcement that the Government would not permit he oil companies to raise their prices.
After all, the Malaysian public still remember that there was a time-lag of over two months between the 70% increase in price of Arabic crude oil in October, 1973 and the increase in the prices of petrol, diesal, and fuel oils in the petrol kiosks in Malaysia on December, 21.
On January 1st, 1974, the Arab oil producing countries had increased the price of crude oil by another 112%. And going by the time-lag of about 2 months, the international oil companies would probably increase the retail prices in March.
Finally, Datuk Hj. Taib Mahmud should bear in mind that what is to the best interest of the international oil companies is not necessarily in the best interest of the people of Malaysia.
The minister should give the public a full opportunity to make representation this time before he approves another round of prio increases for petrol, diesel, and fuel oils