KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — Malaysia is the only country in the world that offers more subsidies to the rich compared to those who are impoverished, according to Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan.
As example, he said the country’s high income earners form only 10 per cent of the electricity users but use over half of the energy subsidies.
“They are only 10 per cent of the total electricity consumers. So imagine how the subsidies have been misdirected tremendously.
“I think in Malaysia, we are the only country that offers way more subsidies to the rich compared to the poor.
“We don’t know of any other country. If you know, share it with us, if there is another country that offers more subsidies to the rich compared to the poor.
“There is none, right? Only Malaysia,” Ahmad told reporters in Parliament this afternoon.
He said the government is moving to address the gap between the rich and poor through targeted subsidies for electricity consumption, under the purview of the Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Ministry.
“As for other sectors, the timeline on implementation of targeted subsidising will be decided by the Cabinet,” he said.
He also said that Malaysia offers one of the lowest fuel prices in South-east Asia with RON95 grade petrol at RM2.05 a litre.
Ahmad told the Dewan Rakyat earlier this morning that the government spent RM50.8 billion in subsidies for petrol, diesel and liquified petroleum gas (LPG) last year.
In a breakdown of the fuel subsidy consumption, he said the bottom 40 per cent of wage earners is estimated to have used 24 per cent and the middle 40 per cent of income earners used 41 per cent while the top 20 per cent of income earners known as the T20 group used as much as 35 per cent.
He explained that the government is working to reduce the fuel subsidies for those in the top income tier through targeted subsidies so it can save up to RM17 billion and channel those savings into other areas where funds were needed.
He added that the government would not roll back subsidies entirely but manage it so that there would be no wastage.