Delay in petrol subsidy plan to prevent heavy burden on taxpayers, says finance minister

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the Pakatan Harapan government has to consider the costs of living of the general public in every decision it makes. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the Pakatan Harapan government has to consider the costs of living of the general public in every decision it makes. — Picture by Hari Anggara

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 1 ― Lim Guan Eng today explained the government decided to postpone rolling out its Petrol Subsidy Programme (PSP) out of concern an abrupt float of pump prices could hike living costs for those outside of the bottom 40 per cent (B40) income earners.

He said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has to consider the costs of living of the general public in every decision it makes.

“We are getting various feedback on this programme, not only from consumers but also from businesses on floating the prices of petrol and diesel by one to two sen per week,” he said during a visit to the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge this morning.

He said many were worried about the negative effects of the petrol and diesel prices being gradually raised to current market prices, adding that the postponement was for the government to further study the impact of the float.

“Yet, now the Opposition wants the petrol price to be floated? So, Barisan Nasional wants the petrol prices to be floated to market price without taking into account the effects it has on the people?” he asked.

Lim said the Opposition, particularly MCA and BN, may not care about the effects of petrol prices on the people but the PH government has to take into account everything before implementing the PSP.

“We have to look at how this will affect the costs of living for everyone,” he said.

Lim slammed MCA president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong for criticising the government’s decision to postpone the PSP indefinitely.

Wee, in his Facebook post, accused the government of breaking yet another promise by delaying the PSP. He singled out Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail for the decision.

The PSP is meant for the B40 and the middle income groups (M40) and it was supposed to start today onwards but Saifuddin announced that it was postponed indefinitely two days ago.

Once the PSP starts, the prices of RON95 petrol and diesel will be gradually floated according to the Automatic Pricing Mechanism.

Lim said when the government first announced the PSP, the Opposition had criticised the move as it meant the petrol price might increase when it was floated.

“Now, when we postpone the PSP, they criticise us for postponing it when previously they said we should not float the petrol price. So what is MCA’s stand on this?” he asked.

Earlier, Lim said the toll rates for the Penang second bridge has been reduced to RM7, effective today, to align with the toll rate of the first bridge.

He said the reduction in toll rates for the second bridge will encourage more motorists to use it and reduce the burden on the first bridge.

“It will spur growth for Batu Kawan and Batu Maung with better connectivity,” he added.

The second bridge links the southern side of the Penang island to Batu Kawan on the mainland.

Previously, the toll rate for the second bridge was RM8.50.

Related Articles