Posted by SM Maulana
Saturday, 14 June 2008
(Bernama) — The country can go bankrupt if the government continues giving oil subsidy to the people, in order to cope with the global oil price hike, without sound measures to tackle the problem, said former Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
He said based on information from Petronas and the oil production rate of 600,000 barrels per day currently, he opined that the country’s oil and gas reserves would not be able to meet the demand in the next five years.
“After this, Malaysia will have to bear a high cost and depend wholly on oil imports to meet the local demand.
“If the oil subsidy continues like in the last 45 years, the country can go bankrupt. Now we are producing 600,000 barrels daily…eventually our oil wells will be dried up and we will be forced to import from Saudi Arabia.
“Even now we are importing oil from Saudi Arabia as our oil including from Terengganu’s offshore wells is not suitable for tar and diesel. We have to filter the oil in Singapore before bringing it back to Malaysia,” he said at an Umno gathering to explain current issues here, Friday.
Tengku Razaleigh, who was once Petronas chairman, was asked by a participant whether he would raise the price of oil if he were prime minister.
However, he regarded as illogical the government’s move to increase the price of petrol by 78 sen to RM2.70 per litre and diesel by RM1 to RM2.58 per litre as the price might go up again.
“Is the government prepared to change the price again if the price goes up as the current price is still not stable?”
He said the recent oil price increase was too high and had burdened the people, especially the low-income group. “The situation is putting everyone under a lot of pressure,” he added.
However, he did not say how the government should tackle the oil price hike.
On another note, the Gua Musang Member of Parliament said Umno members should rid themselves of the fear syndrome and instead be brave to point out any wrongdoing or mistakes by the leaders to ensure that the party remained strong and relevant to the Malays.