Impact of fuel subsidies rationalisation a valid concern, says Muhyiddin

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Malaysians have raised concerns about how the rationalisation of diesel subsidies would cause an increase in the price of goods and cost of living.

The Perikatan Nasional chairman said in a statement that such concerns were valid.

"Many have questioned the prime minister (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) over his previous promise to lower the prices of fuel when the reality is not like that.

"Instead, he withdrew the subsidies that would cause the price of fuel to increase. It seems that the prime minister is not concerned about the people's complaints and decided to go ahead with the rationalisation of subsidies when the people are under pressure (with the current situation).

"Even more disappointing, the prime minister who is also the Finance Minister did not provide a detailed explanation of how the issue of the burden of the cost of living of the people will be dealt with thoroughly by the government due to the withdrawal of fuel subsidies.

"What about the impact of the withdrawal on the entire supply chain? What comprehensive measures will the government take to deal with it? This was also not explained in detail by the prime minister," said Muhyiddin, who is Pagoh member of parliament.

He said Anwar should have given a detailed explanation in his address to the nation about the measures that the government will take to buffer the effect of the withdrawal of subsidies.

"People want to know what kind of assistance they will receive as a result of saving subsidies."

Anwar had said in his national address on Tuesday (May 21) that the Cabinet agreed to implement targeted diesel subsidies in Peninsular Malaysia, with Sabah and Sarawak excluded for now.

Muhyiddin in the same statement said the economic figures stated by Anwar, such as economic growth rate, investment value and inflation do not reflect the real situation faced by the people.

"The average citizen still complains about the difficulties they have to face due to the increase in the cost of living.

"Imagine if the withdrawal of subsidies is not dealt with efficiently and effectively by the government, the increase in the cost of living of the people will happen more sharply."

Muhyiddin said during his speech in Parliament in March, he had suggested to the government to postpone the implementation of subsidies rationalisation, particularly for diesel and petrol.

"This is because the people are burdened by the increase in the price of goods and the depreciation of the ringgit which has a direct impact on the cost of living of the people."

He said this year, the government had implemented electricity and the low-value goods tax in January; an increase in water tariffs in February and an increase in sales and service tax in March.

"All these are like an overlapping burden that the people have to bear at any one time. When the diesel subsidy and later on, the RON 95 sibsidy are withdrawn, the impact will be worse."

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