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Malaysian govt to address weaknesses in diesel subsidy, says PM

ANN/THE STAR – The government is ready to fix any weaknesses in the implementation of the targeted diesel subsidy to ensure those eligible for the subsidies are not affected, said Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The prime minister said when the targeted diesel subsidy was implemented, it would not be completely perfect, and there are bound to be some weaknesses.

“But the government is ready to improve it. Among those affected are paddy farmers, fishermen, and school bus operators, and if they don’t receive the subsidy, they will be assisted,” he said in his speech when launching the industrial park project at Dewan Dato Zainal Abidin yesterday.

Anwar said the increase does not involve the people. If there are people who have to use diesel for their daily living, like fishermen, paddy farmers, taxi drivers, bus drivers and so on, they will be helped.

“This subsidy is for the poor. If they use diesel for school buses, for example, we will give them time to appeal for the subsidy,” he added.

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. PHOTO: BERNAMA

He said the issue of the targeted diesel subsidy should not be controversial because all prime ministers before him had agreed that there were many loopholes. Anwar said he found it strange that this was becoming a political issue when all political parties had agreed to the move. He said compared to the water tariff increase, it did not cause any issues because all states were involved. “On the other hand, the targeted diesel subsidy is an issue because it is a decision of the Federal government.

“Previously, when we increased electricity tariffs, we withdrew subsidies for the super-rich and foreigners, and we were able to save MYR4.5 billion.

“Most people were not affected; if anyone is affected, they can appeal and we will consider,” he added.

Anwar said thus it was not right to say that the action is cruel.

“Otherwise, year after year, there will be no courage to implement a policy, and the government will continue to incur losses,” he added.