Malaysia

Anwar vows fuel price cuts if Pakatan wins Putrajaya

Anwar said he was not promising the impossible. — file picAnwar said he was not promising the impossible. — file picKUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has promised to drop fuel prices within 24 hours of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) taking federal power.

“Umno leaders can say whatever (they) like,” said Anwar at a ceramah in Brickfields here today, referring to criticisms that such a move could affect the economy.

“I used to be a finance minister. I don’t want to promise impossible things,” added the fiery opposition leader.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recently removed diesel subsidies for deep-sea fishing vessels and nine classes of commercial vehicles.

But the Cabinet opted to raise electricity tariffs in order to stave off a hike in pump prices for consumer fuels.

The Najib administration maintains the price of RON95 petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) will not be increased for now, but Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim has said fuel prices will be reviewed if oil price hits US$110 –120 (RM330 – RM360) per barrel.

Brent crude is currently hovering near the US$120 mark.

Anwar also slammed the Najib administration for wielding the knife on consumer subsidies while leaving gas subsidies to power producers — to the tune of RM19 billion this year — largely untouched.

“When the rich get it, it’s incentives. When the poor fishermen get it, it’s subsidies,” he told the 500-strong crowd to rousing applause.

Fishermen and trawler boat operators in Kuantan have gone on strike for three days since yesterday over the diesel subsidy cuts.

Anwar said he had visited Bahrain and Kuwait recently, and pointed out that no “oil-producing country in the world raises prices like Malaysia.”

He stressed that global fuel price movements were “immaterial” as Malaysia remains a net oil exporter.

“What do we have to offer? The Orange Book,” said Anwar.

The Orange Book is a manifesto of reforms that the opposition pact promises to implement within the first 100 days of taking federal power.

It proposes, among others, an increase in teachers’ incentives, the abolishment of the tolled highway system, and an annulment of the Internal Security Act.

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