‘Give us time to iron out the mechanism’

KUALA LUMPUR: Time is needed to study a proper mechanism to implement the newly announced fuel subsidy system for it to benefit a wider audience, says the Finance Minister.

“But if you drive a luxury car, please don’t hold your breath!” Lim Guan Eng, in his first post-Budget 2019 press conference here yesterday, said.

Lim was responding to netizens posting luxury car brands with engine capacities of below 1,500cc on social media, and assuming that these owners could gain from the fuel subsidy announced in Budget 2019.

Moving in to nip such assumptions, Lim said there was “no hope” for those who drive luxury cars to benefit from the subsidy.

He said initially, the fuel subsidy system was formulated to benefit the B40 group, earning below RM3,000 a month.

“However, the target looked too small, so we wanted to expand it beyond the B40 group,” he said.

Lim said the subsidy would not kick in immediately.

“Give us some time to study the mechanism,” he added.

The fuel subsidy system is expected to be implemented in the second quarter of 2019.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said as many still owned old vehicles, accurate data would be needed from the Road Transport Department.

“We need to know ... as every formula we work out has to take into account its implications on the government’s coffers,” Saifuddin said after launching the 2018 Deepavali Season Price Control Scheme at the Kulim Public Market yesterday.

Prof Tan Sri Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali, a UKM economics expert, said he was concerned over how the subsidy would be executed.

“Previously, the government subsided diesel to fishermen and later we found out that this group abused the subsidy and sold it to others.

“How will the government counter the issue? I believe that the petrol subsidy should be given to the B40 group (only),” he added.

Dr Noor Azlan said there was a need to classify those receiving aid into various segments.

“Currently, regardless of where they are from, all will receive the same amount – for example, a single mother who doesn’t work but receives a monthly allowance from her successful children.

“Will you still consider her in the lower income group? Should she still receive aid from the government?” he asked.




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Budget 2019 , fuel subsidy