LIVE: Anwar vs Shabery in the Great Oil Price Debate


Anwar and Shabery shake hands at the end of the debate. So what do you think? Who was the more convincing? Respond to the poll on the sidebar.

2151: Why don’t you give your ideas without talk of changing government, Dato Seri?

Anwar: If they accept our suggestion, we will support them. In Feb 2006, after an earlier price hike, there was 4.8 per cent inflation. Now, after the price hike, inflation has soared to nearly 8 per cent in a month. Venezuela and Iran may have low oil price and high inflation, but we now have high oil price and high inflation! Look at the countries around us – how we have lost out to them in competitiveness. I still believe Malaysia, with its resources, has the potential if it cleans up its act.

Shabery: Mahathir has been blamed for the IPPs, but Anwar was once singing the praises of Mahathir. He should have resigned back then. Why is he only talking about a 50-sen reduction now when the oil price was RM1.92 before the election and he promised to reduce it then? We will only burden the country with high subsidies and could end up in debt to international “money lenders”.

Petronas alone (not the group) gives 91 per cent of its profit to the government. What else is there to give? Petronas is strong because of the government of Umno and BN. We do not burden Petronas but allow it to reinvest. About this talk of abuse of power – we are not alone in raising prices; it’s a global problem.

Anwar: Among oil producers, our price is high. If we want our economy to be strong, if we continue in this direction, our economy will be severely undermined. That’s why I am committed to explaining to the people. I will not respond to Shabery’s personal attacks. I don’t have space on RTM after this. I give you my assurance that i will contest in a by-election in the shortest time.

Shabery: Anwar hasn’t changed much. Those who built Petronas – Razak, Mahathir, Abdullah – Anwar has opposed them. If we continue to ask more money from Petronas to subsidise the country, we could end up poorer and Petronas could end up being taken over. Our GDP growth is 6 per cent, much better than many others. The debate now shows how open the government has become.

2140: In a few years we might not have enough oil. What do we do then? Should we continue the subsidy, or are you going to have a sharp price rise then?

Anwar: Who gave the figure of oil depletion in a few years? That assumes there are no further oil discoveries. Some 30 years ago, our reserves were supposed to last until 2005. Petronas then went abroad to explore. I defend Petronas but I criticise the BN.

The mismanagement of the government, the leakages… It’s true, the IPPs were during my time, but look at the record. Ani Arope was opposed to the EPU and the Prime Minister’s Dept over the IPPs. That’s why he quit.

The IPPs have made billions but those on the losing side are Petronas and TNB. We could plug the leakages and cronyism and save a total of RM3 billion. Who’s idea is this of a sharp oil price rise? This is a IMF-World Bank prescription! It is slanderous to say that I bowed to IMF wishes back in 1997-98.

Petronas said there was a special dividend for the government of RM6 billion this year. Can’t we take RM1 billion of this to reduce the oil price? It is not an issue of Pakatan Rakyat. It is for the people. We are staring at economic recession and unemployment.

2132: Why do you focus on the price of oil and not talk about income tax or reducing inflation?

Shabery: We are not a major oil producer. We are just a minor producer. We are just a small net exporter. Only 26 per cent of Petronas profit is from domestic sources. Petronas has to use its profits to find oil abroad. We now have a world renown oil corporation. Don’t make Petronas too poor.

Anwar: Shabery, who compared Malaysia to Venezuela and Iran? We should look at Malaysia as an oil exporter. The sharp rise has caused economic deterioration. Why did the government break its pre-election promise not to raise oil prices? Who is saying anything about taking Petronas money? My argument is to look at the IPPs and wipe out corruption. Why don’t we manage our treasury better to ease the suffering of the people?

Shabery: This is a populist argument. We can accept it if our oil is isolated from the world or if our oil is the only one that is expensive in the world. The IPPs existed when Anwar was in government, and he defended their contracts back then. Anwar used the methods that the IMF favoured to try and resolve the 1997-98 crisis. It is easy to talk when you are outside. Even with their difficulties now, believe me, the people have enough to eat. Show me a country which gives cheap oil without high inflation.

2128: When you were Finance Minister you sent up a Tabung Warisan. What was the aim?

Anwar: The idea was to keep part of our earnings for the future, but that was not maintained. The sharp price now has led to spiralling inflation. It will have adverse effects. But each rise of US$1 in the price of oil actually results in RM360 million income for us. Right now, the sharp rise in inflation will lead to a deterioration in the economy.

2125: In 2006, when there was a price hike, the government said it would improve public transport. Now they are saying that they are going to use the substantial savings for the benefit of the people. Can we believe that?

Shabery: All the countries that have cheap oil – look at Venezuela and Iran, look at their high inflation rates. We can now overcome our food price crisis. Our rice is cheaper than Thailand. We don’t have to demonstrate on the road or hold indecent concerts.

2120: Your premise of a 50 sen reduction is because Malaysia is an oil producer. But your points about IPP had nothing to do with oil. Are you going to distribute what has been collected through the hard work of others so that you get a good name?

Anwar: IPPs are also involved with oil and gas. Petronas has made a huge profit; its profit ranks it among the top 10 oil companies. We will definitely ask Petronas to reinvest. But Petronas is the right of the people. Are we just going to look after the tycoons and the cronies or the people? The 50 sen reduction is just the first step. The extreme price hike has won no support. The only ones supporting it are the BN MPs..

2111: Would the government have to subsidise foreign oil companies in retail sales if there is a price subsidy as Petronas alone does not control the retail market?

Shabery: If subsidies are given out, it would benefit the rich and foreigners as well. Why don’t we give the money straight to the people who need it? Finland and Norway etc do not have subsidies and have shown good economic performance.

Anwar: If you want to compare with Norway, it has 10 times the per capita income of Malaysia. The petrol price is hurting the poor and marginalised groups and aggravating their suffering. It is our responsibility. Such a sharp rise is burdening the people. If Umno and the ruling coalition don’t realise this, then their future is bleak. What about infrastructure spending – isn’t that a form of subsidy for companies? But we call that “incentives”. On the other hand, aid for the people is called “subsidies”, which are given a negative connotation.

2107: Shabery responds that the government would have to incur a subsidy of RM50 billion if it maintained the price at RM1.92 and that would affect development. He said that global factors also influence the oil price. He recalled the first global crisis in 1973-74, which worsened inflation including in Malaysia. Petronas was formed back then, which wasn’t easy. The people supported Razak’s move. Anwar protested against Razak back then. And Anwar was now doing this again.

2102: Anwar kicks off with his opening statement. He insists that with proper economic management and eradication of corruption, an immediate cut in petrol price of 50 sen is possible. He speaks of the suffering felt by many, particularly the Malays and bumis in Sabah. He points out that TNB has to pay for 40 per cent excess capacity and how Petronas has made an excellent profit of RM100 billion – which could enable the government to raise RM3 billion for distribution to the people through a price reduction.

2100: The one-hour live debate gets underway at Balai Budaya. The moderator warns against raising irrelevant issues. Both speakers receive decent applause.

Share your comments on the debate over TV9, Astro Awani and Bernama TV from 9.00pm. This live write up is specially for those of you who don’t have access to these three stations and those abroad who would like to follow the debate. Please note this is not a verbatim transcript; it just covers the main points raised or emphasised and paraphrases much of what was said.

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… How long can Malaysia survive over its reliance on motor vehicles, and such poor public transportation systems when compared to other oriental neighbouring countries? How can Malaysia survive, relying on government subsidies being haemoraged from the rakyat… Proton and Cyber Jaya and Putra Jaya? How long can Malaysia survive with inequity in rights and divisive clicks amongst the races. If the government can only look out for the majority race, and provide them with a safety net … do you expect the chinese or indians to open our arms in sharing the wealth despite being disadvantaged, and treated as… Read more »


When is the debate he said he wanted to debate someone on the IMF? Come on!! Be a sport.

All the comment above cant magically make the blueprint or action plan from Anwar to appear. There is no solid information from our esteemed ex DPM.

Step one how?
Step two how?

What will we need to do? Did any one catch which part of the debate he was pointing out how to decrease fuel prices? Which PART? Which MINUTE?


i hope in future datuk seri abdullah and datuk ser najib will face the debat with dsai.dont think you can push here and push there.


i strongly supports DSAI , we cant compare norway and malaysia in terms of income per capita.lets talk about our neighbor singapore,the production operator earn $1000 as basic pay and only pay $ 1.80 per litre.But we as oil produser paying rm 2.90 per liter and our basic pay is rm450.our spending power is extremely poor.BN please dont blintly give statement.wake up.


now the fuel price is going to be like a yo-yo. This show how deficient our leaders are. How can a man like Shabery
without political history personally attack Anwar as he cannot attack Shabery personally?


madu_tiga get a second hand economic book and learn about national income and expenditure and come in this blog and comment about things you know. If not sure consult an economist even from PKR they would have to tell you that the debate had nothing to do with politics but with economics (which is much much more important). There was NO clear and defined way that Annie could get away with the promises he made. There was no blue print or plan of action. Even if he were to mention one or two solid economic plan (that he was thinking… Read more »


Correct me if I am wrong at one point in the debate DSAI said something about the IMF and he was willing to debate any economist regarding the validity of IMF. I completely agree and hope that he would once and for all debate on the issue to clear his actions in 1987. What you guys think? Back to the subject at heart I think: So in your oppinion would oil prices go down if DSAI was PM? After hearing the debate I hope that I would be able to drive to work and not feel stressed about it just… Read more »


During the debate, I don’t think Mr shabery cheek explain to the rakyat well enough to return them to power if there is another election. Forget about the calculation, RM5 billion or above RM15 billion for the subsidy, who cares?, all I know is the government didn’t keep their promise of not increasing the oil price. Sabery did not answer one question from the panel, CAN WE TRUST the government with the big big saving from the abolishment of oil subsidy this time, when in 2006 only some part of the saving from subsidy reduction were utilized for the supposedly… Read more »


Kalau ikut kesopanan Nordin Kadi:-

Seolah-olah Nordin Kadi seumpama seorang yang telah diluluskan oleh UMNO sebagai penal BN akan buat serangan peribadi seboleh-bolehnya kepada DSAI, untuk mendapatkan keseronokan di kalangan kawan-kawan dalam UMNO bahawa Nordin Kadi adalah ****** UMNO yang baik.

Rashid Khan

Well done dongra dundee,i have seen this in troubled regime,when dirty polician,misuse the democratic system.That why it is out of control.And troubled are invited.( I agreed Pakistan is troubled,that why we are sharing views with you guys.(We dont wish your country to be destroy,by bad western perception of democracy.As for Mr Sabery he will learn,as for Mr Anuar he will never change,his bad habit. Actually,there is no winner,you are the looser??????.I think you are still staying at the swamp,from my understanding of your name Dundee””.( Sorry Dundee no hard feelings.) Anyway i will be off for my work.Wish you guys… Read more »


You know what strikes me reading the comments here ? Most people are blinded either by their political afflictions and/or their inability to accept the fact that the price of oil has risen far more in the global market than it Malaysia. The expectation of the debate is very simple. DSAI supposed to provide a formula on how the oil can be still subsidised without affecting the economy / Petronas / long term growth. But DSAI failed miserably. Firstly he got his calculations all wrong by quoting Rm5 Billion when it should be far more (may be Rm 15 Billion)… Read more »


i hope to watch the debates soon : 1) kenabatangan mp VS lks;
2) dsai VS syed hamid; 3) dsai VS kj ( in english) 4) nga ko ming VS
hishamuddin ( in english )


DSAI has indeed shown high intellectual and stamentship during the debate even with an anticapation of sure arrest and harrasment from the Police the next day. For Sabbery you are a total shame as a Minister of Misinformation Malaysia. Your denial of not attacking on DSAI’s personally really sucks. You dont deserve to be a Minister of an International Caliber. I wonder how you would behave or perform in international forum representing Malaysia? As for Mr.Rashid Khan just **** *** from Malaysian Politic and concentrate on political reform in your on troubled country of origin. The winner without dobt is… Read more »

Helmi Ismail

I must say that it was quite “sporting” and “liberal-minded” of Shabery to facilitate and participate in the Debate LIVE. At the same time, he has his motive too. He needs to be seen as the UMNO Hero who responded in the midst of assaults by the opposition. He needs to be seen to be taller than he really is if he is to be seen to deserve the nominations in the coming UMNO Party Elections. Having said that, that night he had belittled himself more than anyone else. He forgot that it was a debate and not the usual… Read more »

Rashid Khan

Well done Steven,this is one way of moving forward.

Steven Vellu

Well, I guess we Malaysians are mature enough and intelligent enought to know who made sense during the debate. The Minister should know that it is not about a battle of who should win the debate. It is more on constructive criticism and input to find solutions to Rakyat’s suffering. We Malaysians want a representative to tell the Government that the Rakyat are suffering due to the drastic increase in oil price. Now, we can keep on arguing that the government had no choice but to increase the fuel price. But what strategic planning was done for poor people to… Read more »

Rashid Khan

To my opnion,if those who believe in democracy,the credit should be given to Shabery.He have the courage to have a debate,Debate are mend to exchange knowledge,and after all the question and answer,The entire topic will be taken by the goverment to improve,the system and policies.If he want to hide anything or making a fool of himself,he will not be there. Malaysian are not prepared from what i have seen from the comments above.many of those are not taking things maturely.You are not encouraging people to have dabatee by asking someone to step down lah,fool lah,mockery lah.( Question is,Are we perfect… Read more »


From what I’m reading here i would say both of them loses. I was expecting Anwar to at least reveal a plausible method of reducing oil prices… “Eradicate corruption and from the money there, give it to the people” sounds like an ideal method. But that is all it is. An ideal. It doesn’t sound concrete enough for me. And even if it does happen, after a couple of years it’ll be back and where would the money for oil come from then? “Some 30 years ago, our reserves were supposed to last until 2005. Petronas then went abroad to… Read more »


Both AAB and Najib are not orators, and if they appear, it would be easy targets for Anwar to hit them on nation TV, thus propelling Anwar to prophecy status. Shabery is just a number…. the cheek is pittance.
we have to take not , mahathir would have not allowed this in HIS DAYS.

Gobala Krishnan

Yeah I waited for it and watched it. I loved the debate, but to my disgust TV3 later claimed that Shabery “mematahkan”or broke Anwar’s debate.

Don’t they know people can watch the whole event on TV and realize that TV3 is full of nonsense? There goes another media’s credibility if there was any in the first place.

Malaysian niah

The Buddha instructs the Kalama People on which basis one should decide which religious teaching to accept as true. The Buddha tells the Kalamas to not just believe religious teachings because they are claimed to be true by various sources or through the application of various methods and techniques. He urges that direct knowledge from one’s own experience should be called upon. He notably does not, however, say that his own teachings should not be accepted or not accorded trust: rather, he counsels that the words of the wise should be heeded and taken into account when deciding upon the… Read more »

Malaysian niah

I think it is a responsibility for every Malaysian who they meet to explain to the less educated why our oil prices are unacceptable. I take cab to work most of the time. when you tell the cab driver, why oil in singapore cost much less than malaysia they say it cannot be because its RM4 there and RM2.70 here. these people sometimes need a little straight forward explanation on this. the UMNO runned government is targeting this people by giving them facts that is not the actual truth. in the case above, they ‘forgot’ to tell these large groups… Read more »


I expected more from a Minister. His explanations were poor and he certainly could not answer questions properly. If this man is a reflection of other ministers in the current govt; I feel Malaysia may be doomed. How can we have such persons of poor intellect to make policies for the country? This is the result of too much politiking and not getting the right people for the job.It’s time the PM should start revamping the whole system; starting with the cabinet.(Let’s hope the PM watched the debate). I wonder what he’s got to say. Anwar Ibrahim certainly has great… Read more »


DSAI have all the facts ready. Shaberry being a cabinet minister dont seem to know why the cabinet approve the 40% increase in oil price in a sudden. Maybe the decision was done outside the cabinet (kitchen cabinet). Only the cabinet minister knows and they are not telling the rakyat. I guess if the price of susidy is high there is less money for the minister to loby for projects thus less money to pay the voters to vote for them. Shaberry should have explain that the BN is concerned about the rakyat especially the poor people who do not… Read more »


Shah-straw-berry won’t resign because of this lah. In fact, he said he is proud to inform the “truth” and counter-attack “lies” spread by opposition. This is so typical BN attitude lah. They don’t know what is shame! Look at Chuah Soi Lek… Same goes for Samy Vellu and … Rahmin Thamby Chik…. I so “hope” he will get elected as a UMNO VP in December, it show (what kind of party) UMNO is…!
Damn BN….