Izah Azahari & Hakim Hayat
The 17th Legislative Council (LegCo) session yesterday saw a proposal for the reviewing of car fuel subsidies for parties using commercial, heavy and luxury vehicles so that those who really need the subsidy can benefit from it while reducing national spending.
This proposal was put forth by LegCo member Yang Berhormat Iswandy bin Ahmad, who added that this will also be supported later with the country targetting 65 per cent of electric car consumption by 2035 as well as the world trend of phasing out combustion engines, along with using the subsidy for improvements on other services such as upgrading public transport, public infrastructure and the likes.
In response, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah said that the government has been subsidising fuel at petrol stations for many years, and every year there is at least a subsidy increase of BND100 million to BND300 million, subject to market oil prices.
The minister added that the proposal from the LegCo member on reducing the subsidy for commercial or luxury vehicles is indeed a matter that will need to be studied in depth with the Ministry of Energy, while in the aspect of improving public transportation, the minister said the government has also provided a budget allocation to create a programme for public transportation as a separate budget.
Meanwhile, the issue of traffic congestion in the country is not a trivial matter and should be addressed accordingly using a whole-of-government and whole-of-nation approach, LegCo member Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Putera Maharaja Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Ghani bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Dewa Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Rahim said yesterday.
He said that if many of the public servants are still on the road, a lot of time and productivity is wasted. He suggested that the current network of roads be improved by building more flyovers and other infrastructures to smoothen traffic, rather than building roundbouts and such.
In his response, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti bin Haji Mohd Daud said that the issue has been acknowledged for a while, although nothing has come out of it and they will give it more attention and evaluate the best way to overcome it.