Putrajaya pulls the plug on power rate hike for domestic users

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Cabinet’s decision not to raise the tariffs will benefit over nine million domestic accounts. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Cabinet’s decision not to raise the tariffs will benefit over nine million domestic accounts. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — The government will not approve increased electricity tariffs for domestic users next month despite previously indicating it would do so.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Cabinet’s decision not to raise the tariffs will benefit over nine million domestic accounts.

“In relation to that, the government also decided to maintain the subsidy of over RM700 million so that domestic users are not affected (by an increase in rates),” he said on his Twitter account.

Ismail Sabri did not say if the decision to maintain the tariffs was only for this year or would cover the entire 2022-2024 period when the increases would have been introduced.

However, the Energy Commission confirmed in a subsequent statement that the existing rates will be maintained for the regulatory period from this February 1 to December 31, 2024.

Energy and Natural Resources Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan previously disclosed that power tariffs could be increased starting February 1 — coincidentally the first day of the Lunar New Year as well as Federal Territories Day — but did not disclose the expected quantum.

He only asserted that the increase would not be “burdensome” to consumers.

The prime minister did not explain the reason for the announcement today but Malaysians have been complaining of sharp increases to their cost of living since the start of the pandemic, coupled with a soft economy that was still reeling from various lockdowns imposed to try and contain Covid-19 locally.

Ismail Sabri’s Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition is also due to face a still-unannounced state election in Johor either next month or in March, which is believed to be a feeler for a possible early 15th general election.

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