KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 — Lim Guan Eng today refuted claims that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government profited from a furtive tax on fuel prices at the pumps.
Instead, the finance minister said the government bore a RM4.1 million burden to subsidise the price of RON95 petrol last November.
“Allegations that the Government has been taxing petrol are false and baseless.
“The simple truth is that the Government did subsidise RON95 and diesel in November, albeit at a lower cost compared to the previous months,” he said in a statement.
Lim said the government paid a total of RM4.89 billion in petrol and diesel subsidies from January to November 2018.
Of that amount, he said RM209.1 million went towards subsidised diesel in Sabah and Sarawak alone.
He added that the subsidy data for December is still being compiled.
Lim also said the government will adjust the pump price of fuel to make it cheaper for the public “if and when” the automatic pricing mechanism (APM) drops, as announced previously and reaffirmed the ruling PH’s commitment towards transparency.
“If APM prices rise, the retail prices would be stabilised at the current fixed levels at RM2.20 per litre for RON95 and RM2.18 per litre for diesel.
“Once the Government rolls out its targeted petrol subsidy programme before the end of this year, petrol and diesel will be floated freely based on market prices,” Lim said.
The APM is a formula the government relied on to determine the retail price of fuel during the first Mahathir administration under Barisan Nasional rule starting 1983 until it was replaced by the managed “float” system in December 2014 when Datuk Seri Najib Razak was prime minister.
Last week, Najib accused the PH government of raking in as much as RM120 million a week through sales tax on retail fuel prices in November, which he estimated at 30 sen per litre of RON95 petrol.