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December 20, 2008

Malaysia to impose petrol tax if oil price falls

Malaysia's government will impose a tax if the price of petrol falls below a certain level but will not set a floor price, Reuters quoted Domestic Trade Minister Shahrir Samad as saying Friday.

"Under the mechanism, we determined that the ceiling price be set at 2.70 ringgit a litre with 30 sen subsidy still given if the market price is above 1.90 ringgit a litre," said Shahrir, according to state news agency Bernama.

"If the market price is below 1.90 ringgit a litre, we (the cabinet) took the decision to impose a tax but the rate is still at the discussion stage and will be known next month," he said.

Shahrir has been in charge of a drive by the government to cut prices. The price of petrol peaked at 2.70 ringgit earlier this year after subsidies were slashed in June, causing a price surge.

The government has cut petrol prices by a cumulative 33 percent since June when prices rocketed 41 percent.

Petrol currently retails at 1.80 ringgit a litre for the benchmark unleaded brand

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