Petrol price cut a sign of desperation


Graph from

Having identified one of the main sources of public disenchantment, the BN-led government, with one eye firmly on the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign, has cut the price of petrol from RM2.70 to RM2.55 – a reduction of 5.6 per cent.

This price change is clearly politically motivated. When they raised the petrol price in Malaysia by 41 per cent on 5 June, the price of Nymex Light Sweet Crude was around US$125 per barrel (on 4-5 June).

The closing price yesterday was US$121 – not much different from then – and now they announce a cut of 5.6 per cent? Tell me it has nothing to do with Permatang Pauh. Why didn’t they wait until 1 Sept, the date they had fixed earlier for “streamlining” oil prices?

For this reduction, therefore, Pakatan can claim victory.  I can’t remember the last time the petrol price – or for that matter any toll or tariff – was cut. What goes up in Malaysia never comes down… until now.

I was half-expecting this – a petrol price cut on the eve of polling. This was always going to be their main trump card.

The sentiment on the ground was troubling for the BN. This afternoon I asked a mobile phone agent who runs a stall on the corridor outside a row of shophouses in Penang how business was doing.

She said it was down – and not just for her. “All the other shops here are saying that business is down.” When asked the reason for the slump,  she explained, “People have less to spend now after the oil price hike.”

So consumer spending was down and businesses have been hurt.  Ordinary people, especially the poor and marginalised groups, have been struggling to make ends meet as blog reader Calvin testifies:

Abdullah woke up for a while from his slumber after the March 8 tsunami – but is now back to sleeping mode again. His flip-flop decisions and poor economic management are causing us great pains.

As people who still travel to longhouses on a longboat – the impact of the recent price hikes is very much felt. Imagine having to buy a litre of petrol at RM4.50 – almost double the price that car owners have to bear.

It used to be only RM50 from Tatau to my longhouse – but now I need to fork out at least RM120! per trip. Unlike the people in the peninsula, longhouse folks don’t have regular income. RM120 is like a month income to them. They definitely couldn’t afford to spend that amount on petrol alone!

And this was what I wrote on 1 August:

Abdullah probably couldn’t ignore the oil price issue with the Permatang Pauh by-election looming. The price of oil is likely to be a big issue in the campaign especially with Anwar saying he can reduce it by 50 sen immediately if PR were to wrest power.

So what determines the price of oil – economics, politics… or opinion polls? A Merdeka Centre poll reveals that Abdullah’s approval rating has plunged to a new low (42 per cent) while 59 per cent of Malaysians think that economic problems are the most important issue facing Malaysia today.

By the way, has anyone noticed any improvement in public transport since the 41 per cent price hike on 5 June? I don’t see any big changes. Are we going to forget public transport and oil conservation now?

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24 Aug 2008 12.28pm

I came back from Baram ( Miri) on a teaching trip. it is true that the cost of living is exhorbitant there, and the people ( Kayan, Penan & Kelabits ) are not well off in the first place. Even the long houses ( build in 1975) still does not have electricity. And travelling is now double priced due to the petrol increase. Even that, they are so hospitable to shuffle us in their boats and not asking any money. And the state government have forgotten about them. I am thinking of creating an NGO that looks at way to… Read more »

24 Aug 2008 11.07am

PM is not a Liar but definitely the name suits him ….Bodowi! First they increased the fuel price, causing all food items to increased and now in such a short period (simply bcos of PP By-election), the Gomen decreased the fuel price…. and only fools like them expected the food stuff to decrease their prices. They must have seen too much of Saiful ******** to be blinded by all these. Voters in Malaysia should make MCA, Gerakan, and MIC irrelevant first and the arrogant UMNO (since the Melaka CM said they don’t need others to win election and rule M’sai)… Read more »

23 Aug 2008 11.48pm

Just imagine because of DSAI the Whole government UP NO and BE end have to REDUCE the petrol price…HAH HA… HOW much more when HE BECOMES our PM. HURRAY…


23 Aug 2008 10.42pm

no shame!!! totally no shame!!! how can we and the parliment and the cabinet stand to have a liar as our PM, and he can’t stop to lie!!!

how awful. totally humiliating and embarassing to have badawi as our PM.

Badawi, awak memalukan negara, bangsa and agama!!!

23 Aug 2008 10.24pm

….. lah is a fork tongued … that should be booted out and whenever interviewed in the MSM he will talk arrogantly that he is in control of the government short of 8 seats for a 2/3 majority. The whole cabinet and Be End leaders were in PP to campaign and I wonder on whose money they spend to campaign. Using the Rakyats’ money again!! Gimmicks of train rides and giving a small discount on petrol prices are F*** lah and Barisan N…. forte due to PP buy election. Come on PP residents and show a thumping victory to Anwar… Read more »

23 Aug 2008 8.26pm

Thank Sir for highlighting one comment from East Malaysia (Sarawak)!

What he (Calvin) said was right in Sarawak, our ultimate burden is petrol price hike!

Hopefully Our Sleepy Minister can ease this problem or else They can kiss goodbye to their fixed deposit from Borneo because Sarawakian maybe will do the same political tsunami on the next Sarawak state election (2009/10)!

23 Aug 2008 4.10pm
23 Aug 2008 12.51pm

The federal govt will not help Penang as the PM have confirmed cancelled those major projects like monorail,porr,and 2nd bridge is like dragging time.So if you vote for BN, federal govt already confirm not helping Penang so on what reason you vote for BN.The only way is to change Federal govt than Penang will got back the projects.

23 Aug 2008 10.21am

Indeed a good news. But obviously a desperate action.
same goes here :
Najib, welcome to the Club!Swearing Club!

cinta Malaysia
cinta Malaysia
23 Aug 2008 10.04am

Fomca, It is not that i am not happy with the reduction in petrol price.What i am not happy is the manner in which Abdullah Badawi keep on lying to Malaysians.I filled my petrol tank to FULL yesterday knowing very well it will last me till end of the week when the new price will be announced.To my horror come evening he announced the reduction albeit a measly reduction.I would have saved some pocket money for my daughter’s schooling next week, only if i have filled my tank this morning. Badawi’s lying has touched my nerves that i will not… Read more »

Justin Choo
23 Aug 2008 9.35am

Desperados will resort to desperate manoeuvres, even swearing on grandmothers’ graves. It’s like sinking on quick sand, the more they struggle the faster and deeper they sink, ultimately killing themselves through self-suffocation!!

23 Aug 2008 8.29am

Thasnk you, Pakatan Rakyat for the price cut!

23 Aug 2008 7.29am

I wonder why Badawi didn’t try taking the public transport right before the hike of petrol price or after March 8 but just before the by election.

… I wonder why the Malays, if they want improvment, still want the blind to lead the blind.

Jeffrey Chew
23 Aug 2008 6.27am

Hahhaa…and we have the education minister declaring holiday for the schools around Permatang Pauh – how long can they go?

Angela Ooi
Angela Ooi
23 Aug 2008 6.05am

In the first place, the quantum of the petrol price hike was too high but this latest flip flop would not change much in the prices of things cos ‘what goes up, very rarely comes down’ and the traders will surely stay with the recent hiked prices of goods. The rakyat will continue to suffer the shrinking value of our $$

C Tan, PhD (Bonafide)
C Tan, PhD (Bonafide)
23 Aug 2008 2.52am

Maybe after the much publicized Komuter and Putera public transport ride, PM realizes public has no means of alternative acceptable transportation, hence the reversal in pricing, that and the reported whopping inflation rate perhaps.

23 Aug 2008 1.12am

price go up you not happy, price go down you also not happy. how la?

Johanssm aka KhunPana
Johanssm aka KhunPana
23 Aug 2008 1.09am

Impromptu fuel price decrease , publicity stunts by riding trains , parading lee chong wei in P.Pauh , sting ACA operation arresting PR MPs , Saiful and his quranic stunts , immediate DNA bill shoves into parliament ,intimidation of key witnesses Bala and Dr.Osman ,sudden operation to flushes out illegal immigrants in Sabah, arrest of PKR branch leader when he was there to prevents 2 photographers from being beaten up,constant harassment towards the editor of Malaysia Today . All the above are done the past 30 days just to prevent a single one person namely Anwar Ibrahim from coming back… Read more »

malaysian niah..
malaysian niah..
23 Aug 2008 1.00am

hmmmm … then if this is the case no need to increase until 2.70 earlier lar … now the price of other food items, business cost, transport charges etc due to the last increase …. IS NEVER EVER GOING TO COME DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!! so what bloody use the UMNO/BN govt now reduce to 2.55???? yes it saves me some petrol cost but my roti canai is never ever gonig to 80 cents anymore!!!!!!!!!

otak udang sometimes this people…

22 Aug 2008 11.59pm

Maybe train he repented after those train commuters gave him a piece of their mind in his inaugural train ride in KL yesterday. Fat hope for a responsive PM. It is just a political game…

22 Aug 2008 11.44pm

As long as BN rules, we are doomed,the price hike in the first place should not have gone up to RM2.70.Reducing 0.15ct is not something to shout about,when the reduction should be more.With the PP by-election around the corner,BN is trying to gain mileage and the people’s support to win the election.BN has lost support of the people and it is becoming irrelevant to the nation. Race based parties are things of the past ,the people Malays,Chinese,Indians and the other races are basically very united and the time is ripe to have multi race parties which can fight for everyone… Read more »

22 Aug 2008 11.41pm

didnt he say recently that there willbe no price revision before Sept 1?

well, Badawi again live up to his form. flip flop flip flop. read my lips, if i say left just look to my right. flip flop flip flop.

flip flop flip flop flip flop flip flop.

Badawi said “i am going to handover the top post to najib in 2010”. ha2, najib i am so happy coz you are not gonna get the premiership. remember flip flop flip flop.

cinta Malaysia
cinta Malaysia
22 Aug 2008 11.09pm

Dear Abdullah Badawi,
I want to tell you straight to your face that you are a … lier!!You have negated whatever goodness with the reduction in petrol
price you announced today.
I am worried that no Malaysian will ever believe whatever you say anymore!
S***, i should not have filled my petrol tank to FULL today believing that you will only review the petrol price on 1st September.

22 Aug 2008 10.25pm

Yep i am seniled,

Anil since you are accountant,i want to ask you.

Most transportation of goods deliver by DIESEL engine – why the DIESEL price drop very little? Its also a major cost of material price increase.Petrol price major drop – because the rakyat use – sure lah for POLITICAL REASON.

rajraman.I have one diesel driven for personal use but its not a issue for me but a issue for the economy.

22 Aug 2008 10.22pm

Just declared if BN win all voter in Permatang Pauh get free petrol untill next election, easier la, don’t waste time. This old man cried wolf again.. did’t he say no fuel price adjustment till september just some days ago? sicking tired of the lies! maybe we should lower our expectation for him to just don’t lie, just reform on this only Mr. PM, forget of other reform as you always said.