PETALING JAYA: Malaysians are one of the highest fuel consumers in the region where even price increases have not deterred motorists.
Since 2004, they have consumed more than 400 litres per capita annually, which is much more than Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, China and India. Singapore, which was ranked second among the list of six countries, only consumed 250 litres per capita in 2007.
India and China consumed under 50 litres per capita in 2007, according to data collated from the Finance Ministry, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry, International Energy Agency and Global Insight.
Even with fuel prices at its highest in mid-2008, when petrol was at RM2.70 and diesel at RM2.58 per litre, consumption still grew by 8% annually and almost 20 billion litres are expected to be consumed by the end of 2010.
As Malaysia practises a blanket subsidy on fuel, data made available to the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) subsidy rationalisation lab showed that 71% of fuel subsidy was enjoyed by the middle to high-income level groups.
Some 28% of those enjoying fuel subsidy earn more than RM5,000 per month, while 43% earned between RM2,500 and RM5,000.
Abuse of liquid petroleum gas (LPG), or cooking gas, has also contributed to an inflated subsidy bill. Some RM1.71bil was spent on subsidising LPG, to which only RM397mil or 30% are used by households.
It is believed that the rest of the LPG had been misused for commercial purposes or smuggled abroad.
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