Media Statement by Johor DAP Policy Director and Senai State Assemblyperson Wong Shu Qi on 3 July 2015 (Friday):
Should Anti-profiteering Act be used against the government who allowed petrol price to hike while international oil price remained the same?
Over the night of June 30, Malaysians discovered that the pump prices of RON95 and RON97 increased by 10 sen and 20 sen respectively.
While the federal government enforces the Anti-profiteering Act and brings companies to court for unjustified price increases, people are puzzled when the same government allowed petrol pump prices to be increased even when global oil prices have not increased in the same period. Is someone profiteering from this price hike? No one is brought to court so far!
The federal government had publicised how strictly it acted against business entities for unreasonable price hike. For example, a hypermarket which increased its pastry price by a mere one-cent was fined.
Will the same Anti-profiteering Act therefore be used now against the petrol pump prices hike despite no increase in international oil prices and the fact that we are floating pump prices according to the global market.
Businesses which hiked their prices after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) were targeted using the Anti-profiteering Act 2011. Under the said Act, businesses are not allowed to increase their net profit margin from 2 January 2015 to 30 June 2016.
If this is the logic used against business entities, the same should be applied to the petrol prices hike. The government should bring all oil companies to court. At the same time, the government must explain why they allowed the price hike!
We must be clear that irrational price hike is unacceptable in any circumstances. Yet, on the other hand, the Anti-profiteering Act is not acceptable as it is merely forcing businesses to absorb the increasing cost after the government implemented GST. This Act is clearly counter-productive for the economy.
The Barisan Nasional (BN) government implements GST to increase its tax collection. Yet, at the same time it also enacted the Anti-profiteering Act to prohibit business entities from increasing their net profit margins within 18 months from January this year, regardless of the state of inflation. The business sector therefore has to absorb inflationary cost while the BN government continues to blame “dishonest traders” for price increase after GST.
Eventually, company profit will be reduced due to the increasing cost. This totally defeats the purpose of GST to raise government income as collection now will be lower.
Thus, minister should explain the following:
1. Why did they allow the price hike on petrol pump prices? Is the Anti-profiteering Act being used against normal business entities only and not applicable to the petrol industry?
2. What is the impact on the business sector and all Malaysians after GST was implemented? The GST system should be reviewed as soon as possible after the first quarter of implementation by the end of June.
Wong Shu Qi