Subsidies are expected to hit RM81 billion this year

Subsidies are expected to hit RM81 billion this year

Subsidies are expected to hit RM81 billion this yearPrime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says that subsidies for electricity, fuel, and food will likely cost more than RM81 billion this year.

Even though the number was high, the government could not cut the total support. Not without considering the needs of the people.

It was important to cut down on handouts so people could get help while the country’s economy stayed strong.

There were RM3.8 billion in support for chicken and eggs. However, cutting them would raise the cost of living too much to be worth it.

So, to reduce subsidies, we need a more flexible strategy called rationalization.

“With such a (high) volume of subsidies, no country can survive,” he said at an event at the Sabah International Convention Centre.

Through the rationalization measure, 1% of the wealthiest people lost their energy subsidy, but 99% were unaffected.

The prime minister said that he recently asked Tabung Haji (TH) to look at haj payments for the rich. Which could be used to help Muslims who are less fortunate.

“I requested this rationalization from the Muslim community, that the richest are not given subsidies, to help other pilgrims; it was well received. There are 400 pilgrims who are eligible for the subsidy (haj) but turned down the subsidy to help others,” he said.

Anwar said that the government was trying to help the people by giving the oil price.

That the issue didn’t need to be politicized.

He also said it was important for the government to give Sabah and Sarawak a grant of RM950 per tonne of imported white rice. It is to help the people, especially people experiencing poverty.

“We will not allow the poor people of Sabah to be burdened by the soaring price of rice. There are places where the price of rice is RM45, RM41, RM39 (for a 10kg pack). So with this subsidy, we can lower the price to RM31 and reduce the burden on the people,” he said.

A solution to keep rice prices low due to transportation costs will be addressed to benefit Sabah and Sarawak residents.

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