KUALA LUMPUR: Fluctuating petrol prices is part and parcel of doing business.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations chief executive officer Datuk Paul Selvaraj said : “It’s business there are no guarantees. When the prices were capped after the 14th general election and consumers were at the losing end, it’s not like they (Petrol Dealers Association of Malaysia - PDAM) gave the people discounts."

Selvaraj was commenting on PDAM's grouse that they would be losing up to RM40 million with the government’s decision to float the prices of fuel.

Selvaraj said the consumer group was 100 per cent behind the government over its decision to revert to the weekly float mechanism to determine the prices of fuel.

“This is fairer to all parties as it is reflective of current global prices and as a result is more beneficial to the consumers. Times are very tough and fuel prices affect the prices of everything,” he told the New Straits Times in a phone conversation here today, adding that the grouse was usually parroted by operators when prices fall.

PDAM has gone on record to say that it disagreed with the government over its move to implement the automatic pricing mechanism.

It argued that PDAM is registering losses as it had to sell older stock bought at higher prices and then resell at lower retail prices in tandem with the weekly retail price.

The association claimed that oil companies also manipulated the prices by holding back fuel supplies when the prices dipped.

The association also called on the government to use a monthly float or a consignment system while proposing oil companies take the ownership of the petrol supply using the dealers as agents instead.

This it said was due to its limited financial and storage capacity for fuel stock.

Netizens also mostly agreed with the consumer group saying that the current system (weekly) was the best and that PDAM as business operators were generally quiet when the prices go up.

Social media user Sue Tan said that “if prices go up…? No comment right?”

Tan was commenting on PDAM's post on its Facebook page published on NST Online earlier today.

Lee Meng Fei added “ya lah, ya lah...fuel price better increase every month right?”

However Nazeem Ayop said the proposal that petroleum dealers become agents for the fuel which is owned by dealers was a good pitch as it adopted the model from retail agents.

Facebook user Raymond Tan agreed with the article “oil companies were taking Malaysians for a ride.”

While a Charndeep Singh posted “that’s how the oil companies are. There is a global oil war going on and that’s why there’s a need to seek alternatives.’

“Dealers should find different strategies to counter this problem and make sure it’s a win-win situation in the end. Remember we are all consumers at the end of the day,” he added.