Consider electronic subsidy card

LETTERS: WE should introduce a new approach in subsidies to help only the intended group.

One example is the subsidy card that helps all, including Malaysians and foreigners.

This wasteful method resulting in higher outlay prevents the government from providing more subsidies to intended groups.

For instance, only about 50 per cent of B40 households and about 10 per cent of M40 households should qualify for subsidies.

There is also a need to re-look the classification of M40 as it is too general, and incomes in the M40 vary a lot.

Only the lower 10 or 20 per cent of M40 needs to be included in the subsidy scheme.

The government now subsidises all, including the rich and poor, and foreigners too.

This system cannot be sustained as it is illogically structured, and the poor do not get enough subsidies during hard times.

There is no better foolproof system than having an electronic subsidy card like the identity card.

Subsidy card-like schemes can be found all over the world as governments find that this is an efficient way to help the targeted poor.

India has a ration card system, which offers products at subsidised prices.

In the United States and western Europe, millions of poor and the homeless benefit from subsidies.

There is nothing embarrassing about this as poverty is mostly created by an exploitative socio-economic system.

Malaysia can introduce a similar system through the subsidy card that contains personal data as well as the photo of the cardholder.

Cardholders can get their sundries and provisions at subsidised prices.

The card can be used at fuel stations for the poor to get their subsidised fuel.

A limit should be imposed on the number or amount of subsidised items that cardholders can buy monthly to ensure that this incentive is not abused.

This will control smuggling in the northern states as well as put a stop to foreigners taking advantage of the subsidy system, especially for fuel.

Cheating or deception in using the electronic subsidy card should be made a criminal offence.

The government needs to initiate measures to overcome urban poverty.

The new minimum wage is a positive one. Another is to enable housewives to work a few hours daily.

Industries near low-cost housing schemes and villages can hire women workers.

This will reduce the nation's dependence on foreign workers and help low-income households.

If housewives can work for four hours in a factory and get about RM50 a day, this would benefit their families.

With the number of the poor expected to rise due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is time to restructure the subsidy scheme to benefit target groups and save the government billions of ringgit.


Sungai Buloh, Selangor

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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