By Ariv Chelvam and Annabelle Lee

Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani has defended the need for petrol station owners to apply to the Domestic Trade Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry if they want to offer discounts, citing the need to avoid a price war.

(To read this article on Malaysiakini click here.)

“This is to enable the government to understand how long a fuel station owner wants to have a promotion, or whether it is permanent or not.

“We want to avoid a price war,” Johari told reporters in Bandar Utama today.

The minister said the government also had to consider the issue of supply in remote areas.

“Supply will be an issue in certain areas because fuel station owners might not send petrol to places that they do not profit from. That is our concern,” he added.

The retail price of fuel would be determined weekly, instead of monthly, effective tonight.

Likelihood of lower fuel prices

Johari said the new mechanism will also ensure prices were more reactive to market forces.

“With the weekly system, any changes in the world market will be reflected towards the consumers.

“Like now, the price (of fuel) had dropped, so there is a high chance that it will be reflected (tonight),” he said.

On a separate matter, Johari declined to weigh into Proton’s bid to seek a partner, citing that he did not want to jeopardise the ongoing negotiations.

Johari said Proton received 15 applications but only two potential partners were shortlisted.

The two companies speculated to have been shortlisted were China-based Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and France’s Groupe PSA.

Geely had reportedly exited its bid for Proton but the latter has insisted that all shortlisted companies were still in the running.