It is look like the government will inevitably raised the prices of oil. So far the government have successfully delay the price increase although the government has already stated that there is too much subsidy for oil. The oil prices has gone up at at tremendous acceleration and the people seems to have no idea of what is going on. At the rate the price of oil is increasing, it will be very soon when suddenly we realized that we do not have enough money to pump petrol into our cars and all the planes at the airports are nor flying due to the expensive oil prices.
I am also glad that the impact of oil prices have not really affected the life in this country since the price of oil actually have increased more than 70%-100% since May 2007. In May 2007, the price of oil is around USD65 per barrel and now May 2008, the price of oil have been increasing steadily to USD135 and it has shown no symptom of moving down again. Although it is good that we could still maintain a moderate economic condition, but it is nonetheless an alarming situation.
The continuing statement by the government that Malaysia may need to increase the price of oil is not surprising. It will be more surprising if the government want to lower the price of oil. But as far as the world oil price trend is concern, there is an issue that need to be addressed and it need to be addressed accordingly. The government can do a lot of things with regards to the increasing oil price since we are still a net exporter of oil meaning that our production is more than our demand. With the discoveries of new oil fields and with commisisoning of new production facilities, the reserves of Malaysian oil may even pass the year 2020.. But it maybe finish faster since we are pumping more oil from the reserves.
Nonetheless this gave us more or less another 5 - 12 years to think on our next step in our energy policy and 5 - 12 years although is relatively a short time for a nation is an ample time frame to ensure that we could develop the technology and knowledge that needed to reduce or to eliminate our dependency on oil and hydrocarbon or at least started to seriously develop the technology.
What we really need is a long term solution and a long term assurance that we can live without the dependency of oil. We need to assure for instance if we are running out of natural crude oil, maybe we have develop a genetic engineering technology to produce plants that can supply oil, or we have a better technology that can process palm oil into an effective fuel that can be use for vehicles. Better still if we can develop the technology to use hydrogen fuel cells that can run on water or a solar cells that is powerful enough to run a car... Since we have ample sun lights almost all over the year... Maybe during rainy days and during night time we need to run the cars using auxiliary batteries...
Well, i believe that these ideas have been discussed thoroughly, but since we have not seen any worthwhile prototype of these type of vehicle, then we may not have the ample time to develop these technologies if the issue is not being addressed as priorities...
I believe the government can do a lot of initiatives to reduce our oil consumption and to encourage people to utilize the public transportation. Top of the list is that the public transportation must have a high quality standard and must have a comprehensive linkages. The public transportation must also be effective, reliable and efficient.
I am still puzzled that after 50 years of independent, our railway system are still inherit the old British train network.. We have not expanded our train network and the train services are not good enough to be the main pillar of the transportation system. We don't even have any train route linking to major cities of the east coast such as Kuantan and Terengganu.
So far, I have not seen any concrete evidence that our country is ready for life without oil or there is a concentrated effort in the quest for it. Maybe if the government stop the oil subsidy now, then at least we can be more alert and aware of the crisis and people will start an aggressive approach to reduce the dependency of oil. But, it can also produce an economic imbalance and cause a negative chain reaction to the country growth. Nonetheless, the threat is real and is justifiable and it cannot be ignored and cannot be taken for granted... If back then in 1999/2000 we can prepare ourselves for the Y2K bugs, I believe there is a more alarming issues with regards to the oil crisis...
So how much will the government is going to increase the oil price?