Don’t criticise petrol subsidy for the sake of it, says minister

A man refuels his vehicle at a petrol station in Kuala Lumpur November 2, 2018. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A man refuels his vehicle at a petrol station in Kuala Lumpur November 2, 2018. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

SHAH ALAM, Nov 7 — Stop criticising the implementation of the new multi-tiered petrol subsidy system and instead, focus on ways to resolve the issue, said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

He said constructive criticism would be useful to help the government, which is in talks with interested parties to draw up the best multi-tiered subsidy mechanism that will benefit the targeted group.

“Criticism and caution (from any party) are welcomed but it’s way better to offer us solutions (for the multi-tiered petrol subsidy system implementation).

“Give us two to three months to come up with the mechanism. We hope petrol station operators, petrol companies and consumer associations can provide us with information as it is important to be transparent in channelling the subsidies,” he said at a press conference after a working visit to the Cadbury Confectionery Malaysia Sdn Bhd plant in Section 15, here, today.

“The new multi-tiered petrol subsidy system is expected to be implemented as early as next April and, if it has a positive impact, the government might use the same method for other items to help the people, especially the low-income group,” he added.

Under Budget 2019 tabled last Friday, the government proposed to give the petrol subsidy to owners of vehicles with engine capacity of 1,500cc and below and motorcycles of 125cc and below.

Under the system, the RON95 petrol subsidy of 30 sen per litre is limited to 100 litres monthly for cars and 40 litres for motorcycles.

The government’s allocation of RM2 billion is expected to benefit around four million car owners and 2.6 million motorcycle owners.

Saifuddin said the government was working with various companies, including food industry players, to explore new ways to lower the price of goods so as to reduce the cost of living.

He said so far, several companies were willing to share experiences and information with the government regarding prices, especially that of food, which takes up 30 per cent of the people’s expenditure.

“Many companies are interested and want to help the government set reasonable prices for goods for the benefit of the people,” he said. — Bernama