The government says it is considering setting a ceiling as a means to tackle the issue of escalating oil prices, Bernama reports. According to second finance minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, it will be up to the government to set a ceiling which will be deemed fair to all.

“When we (the government) have decided on the ceiling price, whether they (oil and gas industry players) want to sell the oil at lower prices for promotional purposes, we leave it to them. This is one of the options we are looking at,” he said.

He said the government will need to be mindful whether the policy will pose an issue for those living outside the city. “We are afraid the industry players will pay more attention in obtaining revenue from consumers in the city and don’t want to do the same for those in the outskirts. We have to be wary of this too,” he said.

He said that that fuel subsidies will not be reintroduced, explaining it would not be good for the Malaysian economy and was not sustainable. He said the government would come out with a mechanism. “As of now there isn’t a formula yet, but the government has already decided that it can’t reverse this (subsidy) policy,” he said.

Johari said the government was mindful of the cost of living and it was identifying the pressures of the bottom 40% (B40) income group. “We are aware of the oil prices. We will monitor them. If they keep on increasing and if there is additional revenue, I think the government can consider a different form of assistance to the lower groups, but not those who are well-off,” he said.

He explained that if the current Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) aid was insufficient, the government might consider increasing it to cushion the impact of the increase in oil prices, and reduce it accordingly if prices fell. “If oil prices decline in the future, the government needs to take back the BR1M. These are the variables and formula that the government needs to undertake,” he said.