Tuesday October 19, 2004 - PETALING JAYA: The Government will study waysto increase the efficient use of fuel to reduce the country’s dependenceas world oil prices breached another record high of US$55 per barrel.
The study, which will also encourage the use of renewable energy sources,was decided by a Cabinet Committee to study the impact of price increaseof fuel and petroleum products on the economy, said Prime Minister DatukSeri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The use of natural gas vehicles for public transportation is being studiedin detail along with the development of renewable energy, and the use ofpalm oil as bio fuel, said Abdullah in a statement after chairing thecommittee’s first meeting in Putrajaya yesterday.
He said research and development would be carried out on alternative fuelsources such as solar, wind and biomass.
He will also encourage the development of more low-energy office conceptsto improve the energy efficiency of buildings, he said.
On the recent fuel price increase of five sen per litre, he said it hadhad little impact on the prices of goods and services.
He reiterated his warning to businessmen and traders not to increaseprices indiscriminately, and pledged to act against those who did so.
The committee has also agreed to take stringent measures to wipe outdiesel smuggling, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, elaborating on theCabinet Committee meeting, said members had asked whether the Government’ssubsidy was being fairly distributed or given to deserving people.
Because those who own two to three cars and live in luxury homes are alsoenjoying the oil subsidy, there is the question of whether deserving oreligible people are getting the subsidy, said Najib, who is also a memberof the committee.
The study will be completed as soon as possible, he told reporters afterlaunching a book entitled Between Blood and Bombs written by The StarAssistant Editor, News, Shahanaaz Habib at the newspaper’s headquartershere.
This oil subsidy is the people’s money, and it can be used to furtherdevelop the country and important sectors, but it has to be used tosubsidise oil prices, he said, adding that the Government could not affordto continue paying a high subsidy.
Najib said the committee would determine the steps needed to improveefficiency in the country and yet maintain economic growth.
Although our economic growth rate is high, our efficiency in energy use islow, he said.