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Govt Has 2 Strategies If Global Crude Oil Price Keeps Falling

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PONTIAN – The government has two choices to implement if the global crude oil price continues to show a downtrend, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan.

He said the government could choose to reduce the price of petrol (RON95) if the global crude oil fell to as low as RM1.72 per litre and imposed a sales tax of 58 sen.

“For the second choice, the government could reduce the petrol price to that level (RM1.72) based on world market and not impose sales tax, however, it would not be able to collect revenue for the country’s development,” Ahmad Maslan said to reporters when asked on the government’s move should the global oil price continued to fall.

Currently, the price of RON95 petrol is at RM2.30 per litre without tax.

As of yesterday, Brent crude oil declined to below US$87 a barrel on the back of the possibility of interest rates hike in the United States.

He said this during the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of Mohamad Noh Community Centre in Jelutong Laut here today.

Ahmad Maslan, who is also Pontian Member of Parliament, said both choices would be part of issues that would be discussed, including the new plan to restructure the fuel subsidies, at the Fiscal Policy Committee meeting next Wednesday.

The meeting is expected to be chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“The problem now is to get back the RM23.5 billion last year and RM21 billion this year paid to petroleum companies to enable us to reduce the price of petrol,” he said.

Meanwhile, commenting on the move by Indonesia’s new government under President Joko Widodo that intended to restructure the fuel and oil subsidies, Ahmad Maslan hoped it would indirectly enable Malaysians to understand better the country’s move to reduce the fuel subsidy.

He said the two countries were faced with similar problems as they gave high subsidies to reduce the price of fuel but at the same time, the high- and medium-high income groups were the most that benefited compared with those in the low- and medium-income groups.

In another development, he said more companies had registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

He said about 2,500 companies register for the GST daily and to-date 115,289 companies had done so.

Following this latest development, the government has increased the initial target of 123,000 to 200,000 companies to register until Dec 31, 2014. – BERNAMA

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