Weekly fuel price announcements to begin March 29

The new fuel ceiling price mechanism, in which fuel prices will be announced on a weekly basis instead of monthly, will begin on March 29, the New Straits Times reports.

Minister of domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism (KPDNKK) Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said the announcements will be made every Wednesday, with the new weekly prices coming into effect at midnight the following day.

“Following recent discussions with petrol companies, the government has agreed to announce the new prices for petrol and diesel on a weekly basis, every Wednesday,” he said. The prices will be based on global oil market rates.

When the new system was first announced earlier this month, it was reported that fuel retailers will be able to follow the ceiling prices or set them lower. This was reiterated by Hamzah in his announcement of the kickoff date today. “Private companies and petrol station retailers who wish to offer discounts from the fixed prices can do so by getting the approval from the ministry,” he told reporters.

Weekly fuel price announcements to begin March 29

In the earlier report, Hamzah had said that the government is determining the fuel price to avoid it exceeding the correct market price. “In reality, what second finance minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani and I are doing, is to ensure the people know what had been determined by the Petroleum Dealers Association of Malaysia,” he stated.

The idea of setting a fuel ceiling price was first announced in February, with Johari suggesting it as a means to tackle the issue of escalating fuel prices. At that point, the price of RON 95 had been raised two months in a row, effectively up 40 sen compared to December 2016 (RM2.30 vs RM1.90 per litre).

The Petrol Dealers Association of Malaysia (PDAM) was initially unhappy about the move, but later said it welcomed the implementation of the weekly price revisions. It had in the past mooted the idea of a weekly system, saying that the current monthly system could cause fuel retailers to incur heavy losses and that weekly price updates (of smaller fluctuations) would not be “too noticeable” for motorists.