KUALA LUMPUR: With a view not to burden the consumer, the government should carry out long-term planning involving in-depth studies on petrol and oil price increases, several consumer associations said today.

Muhammad Sha’ani bin Abdullah

At the same time, the associations called on consumers to be prepared to face the price increase by planning their monthly expenses, avoid using credit cards to purchase goods and not waste.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (Fomca) secretary-general Muhammad Shaani Abdullah said consumers should not protest the petrol and oil price increases because the time had come for the government to reduce fuel subsidy and channel the allocation to more important sectors.

“Subsidy reduction for petrol and oil enables the government to channel the subsidy to the health, education and housing sectors because the cost to be borne by consumers are high for these sectors, especially in time of the current rising prices of goods,” he told Bernama today.

Muhammad Shaani was responding to Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s recent statement that the people had to be receptive of increases in petrol and oil prices, expected to happen anytime soon.

Ismail Sabri had said that steps must be taken as the government had to bear the burden of paying high subsidy, following the increase in crude oil prices in the current world market.

Muhammad Shaani said the people should not blame the government if the price of petrol and oil was increased since the government had to bear with the big subsidy payment of the current crude oil price increase.

“Among the alternative choices for the consumers are to use public transport to-and-fro office and refrain from using private vehicles too often.

Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association secretary-general Datuk Dr Maamor Osman said the government had to carry out detailed studies if it decided to increase petrol and oil prices so that the rate of the increase would not burden the consumers.

“The government, consumers and businessmen have to cooperate on this issue of petrol and oil price increase by creating a ‘win-win’ situation for all as the increase in prices of essential goods is in accordance with the current world market,” he said.

Dr Maamor said the goverment also had to improve on the public transport system which was still inadequate, going by the irregular bus schedules and the congestion in the LRT services during peak periods.

In addition, he said, the government also had to find alternatives to the use of petrol in vehicles by developing vehicles using solar energy, electricity and renewable source of power. — BERNAMA