KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 (Reuters) - A temporary curb on foreign motorists buying fuel at Malaysian petrol stations will begin on Monday, two days later than earlier planned, local media reported on Saturday.
A Domestic Trade Ministry official said the change was made to allow all parties involved to be ready.
"This is to ensure that all parties involved in the implementation of the rules, including traders and users especially foreigners, understand the guidelines," Iskandar Halim Sulaiman was quoted as saying by Berita Harian.
Malaysia had earlier said filling stations in its towns bordering Singapore and Thailand would be temporarily barred, starting Saturday, from selling fuel to foreign-registered vehicles in a move aimed at curbing the abuse of subsidies.
Hundreds of Thai and Singapore motorists cross into Malaysia daily to seek cheaper diesel and petrol.
The Malaysian authorities have said the ban would be lifted when a new fuel subsidy mechanism is in place to ensure that only deserving Malaysians receive the subsidies. (Reporting by Liau Y-Sing; Editing by Valerie Lee).
It's another way of saying- people from Singapore and Thailand, please don't drive into Malaysia. And considering Malaysian Permanent Residents in Singapore- please don't come home. And it's still Visit Malaysia Year till August 2008. Instead of banning foreign car owners from buying petrol why not sell them petrol at a higher rate. The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry should study and come up with a rate structure which allows the selling of petrol to foreign registered vehicle owners at the market rate not an outright ban. Come up with the price structure, then brainstorm on a mechanism to regulate and control the petrol sales to foreign vehicles. Not an outright ban of petrol sales to Singaporeans and Thais.
Singaporean and Thai tourist arrivals to Malaysia make up about 50% (10.5 million) and 8% (1.6million) of total tourist arrivals in 2007 (source: Malaysia Tourism Board). Average tourist spending in Malaysia was slightly above RM2,000 per tourist in 2007. Average spending per tourist per night was slightly above RM300 in 2007. Given the short distance between Singapore and Johor, the obvious logical choice for Singaporeans is to drive-in rather than to fly into Malaysia. Whilst Thai tourists fly and drive to Malaysia in an equal ratio, about over 95% of Singaporeans drive across the Causeway. With the ban, Singaporeans, the biggest market segment of tourist arrivals, cannot drive in Malaysia any more. I hope the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry and Ministry of Tourism (by consultation) has studied the impact on Malaysian tourism before banning petrol sales to this market segment.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Shahrir Abdul Samad and Tourism Minister Azalina Othman, did not you all discuss about this beforehand? You guys would not have lasted a day in the corporate sector with this kind of performance.