Anwar defends diesel subsidy rationalisation, prioritises public welfare

PUTRAJAYA – Prime Minister Datuk seri Anwar Ibrahim says that the government’s rationalisation of diesel subsidies may not be popular but it is a strong demonstration of political will.

Anwar stated that this issue has been discussed for many years, and previous prime ministers have also agreed to the rationalisation of subsidies.

“However, this was not done before because it is not simple. Politicians often consider the impact of policies on politics before introducing them.

He said that “the impact of tax increases and subsidy rationalisation will be a burden on politics”.

Anwar, also Finance Minister, told the Finance Ministry staff that implementing targeted diesel subsidies meant the majority of people would continue to benefit while wealthy individuals, foreigners and major industries wouldn’t.

The money saved by the rationalisation will not be used for increasing ministers’ allowances. The money will be returned to the public in the form of cash and subsidies, he said.

The Prime Minister acknowledged that his critics were using the promise that he made to lower oil prices as a reason to criticise diesel subsidies. He pointed out that this statement was made back in 2008.

He said that back then the oil prices in Saudi Arabia were probably around 50 sen, while Malaysian prices were about RM1.50.

The price of oil in Saudi Arabia is about RM2.95. Ours is RM2.05 now. How would you compare the price in 2008 to the current price? He said.

He said that the three major government initiatives – electricity rate adjustments, floating poultry prices, and implementing specific diesel subsidies – would result in savings of approximately RM10bil a yearly.

“Those affected by the rationalisation of diesel subsidies can apply for assistance. He said that the Cameron Highlands vegetable farmers would also receive subsidies, so they wouldn’t have to increase prices and burden the public.

Anwar, who is aware that few leaders would take a controversial action, said he wanted only the best for his country.

“I want you to know that not all politicians think about the people and are arrogant.

“I want prove that we, as a group, can improve the reputation of our country. I am confident that it can be done.

“I will fulfill my mandate. If I am required to leave, I will.

“But as long as I’m in office, I’ll fight for what I believe is right and make Malaysia a great country,” he said.

After being floated, the price of diesel was set to RM3.35 a litre in Peninsular Malaysia on Monday (10th June).

The Automatic Price Mechanism formula used for the last month based the price on the market without any subsidies.

The price for those living in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan remains at RM2.15 (subsidised).

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