The government says it will ensure that Malaysians are not impacted by the rising global price of crude oil, which has touched US$80 (RM334) a barrel. According to minister in the prime minister’s department for economic affairs, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, the government is constantly studying the matter and will take appropriate action to reduce the burden on people, >Berita Harian reports.

“This is important because on October 1, the price of crude oil in the global market reached US$80. As we all know, the ceiling price of diesel is RM2.15 and RON 95 petrol is RM2.05 per litre,” he said. The climb in global oil prices likely means that the government will be spending significantly more on fuel subsidies this year.

In June, finance minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz had said the country would be spending an additional RM4.22 billion to maintain the ceiling prices that have been set for RON 95 petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as well as cooking oil.

He added that the government was prepared to bear the increased subsidy expenditure to maintain the welfare of the people and the continuity of businesses, although at the current rate, the spend will inevitably be much higher than that estimated three months ago.

Mustapa added that Malaysia was also set to bump up its crude oil output, with the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) having decided that the country needed to increase petroleum production.

“The OPEC meeting last night decided that we should increase petroleum production to 400,000 barrels a day. It is to stabilise the price of crude oil in the global market and will last for several months,” he said at the Dewan Rakyat today. Mustapa was responding to a question from Wong Hon Wai (PH-Bukit Bendera) on the security situation of the global energy crisis and the direction to improve it in the country.