KUCHING, Sept 11 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has spent over RM2 billion on subsidies for petroleum products from May to August this year, Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen said today.
He said a sum of over RM1.328 billion was spent on RON95 and RM777.6 million on diesel subsidies.
"The message that I want to inform the public is that, if there was no change in the federal government, they will have to pay over RM2 billion on petrol and diesel prices during these four months," he told reporters after inspecting the prices of goods at a supermarket in Taman BDC here.
Chong, who is also Sarawak PH chairman, said giving subsidies to petroleum products was promised by PH before the 14th general election on May 9.
"Getting subsidised RON95 and diesel is very much better for the people than receiving BR1M," he said, referring to Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia handed out by the previous federal government.
Meanwhile, Chong observed that the prices of most goods in supermarkets in Kuching City have not changed much after the introduction of the Sales and Services Tax (SST) earlier this month.
"Generally speaking, the prices have largely remained the same as when the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was zero-rated from June to August," he said.
He said strict enforcement by the ministry on the suppliers and manufacturer was among the reasons for the stability in the prices of most goods in Kuching and other parts of Sarawak.
Chong said the ministry's enforcement division has penalised some manufacturers and wholesalers for unreasonably raising the prices of their products.
"These manufacturers and wholesalers have increased the prices of their products by as much as 16 per cent. So we have penalised them because they wanted to make an extraordinary amount of profits," he said.