Tuesday, September 24

Reintroducing RON92 ‘a backward move’

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will be frowned upon for having taken a backward move if RON92 petrol, which has been withdrawn from the market is reintroduced, as the fuel has negative effects on the environment.

Petrol Station Operators’ Association of Malaysia president Datuk Hashim Othman said the move was not worth it as the government would have to face high costs.

Besides facing logistics problems, the government would also have to think of the long-term impact as the RON92 petrol had negative effects on the environment.

“Many things have to be looked into if we want to reintroduce RON92 petrol. The question is whether it is worth it? By reintroducing RON92 petrol, we have to increase the pumps and tanks at every petrol station, who is going to bear all these costs?,” he asked when interviewed in ‘Dalam Radar’ (In The Radar) programme by Bernama Radio24 on Thursday night.

Besides causing problems to petrol station operators, reintroduction of RON92 was not the best solution to ease consumers’ burden as not many vehicles used that grade petrol now, Hashim stressed.

Hashim was commenting on the government’s willingness to consider the proposal to reintroduce RON92 petrol which was withdrawn from the market on Sept 1, 2009 to give an option for consumers to buy petrol at a cheaper price.

The suggestion was made after the government raised RON95 petrol and diesel prices by 20 sen a litre effective Sept 3.

Following the people’s uneasy reaction over the government’s decision to reduce fuel subsidy, Hashim said the government had to provide confidence and offer clear explanation that the move was not to burden the people, he said. Meanwhile, the association, in welcoming the government’s move to reduce fuel subsidy, said the government hoped that by reducing the subsidy, it would help curb fuel smuggling to neighbouring countries eventhough the price disparity was still very high.

Hashim said the association would continue to cooperate with the government in efforts to address the problem of ‘leakages’ as there were unscrupulous groups engaged in ‘illegal business’ who take advantage from the government providing fuel subsidy.

He said the association, the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry and the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) in the Prime Minister’s Department would establish a discussions lab to find ways to prevent petrol and diesel smuggling.

The lab would also come up with the best ways and means to help consumers tide over with the higher cost of living pursuant to the recent hike in RON95 petrol and diesel prices. — Bernama