RM80bil in subsidies this year, highest in history

KUALA LUMPUR: The total amount of subsidies is expected to reach nearly RM80bil this year, which is the largest amount in history, says Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

He said the government had provided various consumption subsidies covering petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), cooking oil, flour and electricity to reduce inflationary pressures on the people, Bernama reported.

“Overall, the projected consumption subsidies expenditure for 2022 is the highest amount of subsidies in history ever borne by any government.

“When added with other assistance such as social welfare assistance, agricultural assistance, (aid for) fishermen and so on, the total subsidies are expected to be close to RM80bil for 2022,” he said in the 100th People’s Financial Report released yesterday.

However, Tengku Zafrul added that the government continued to implement policies that were in general aimed at curbing inflation to avoid excessive price increases and at the same time to help those in need in terms of direct assistance.

He said the policy was seen to have produced a situation that was considered controllable, especially when compared with other countries.“A study on the holistic cessation of subsidies and the rechannelling of those savings to those in dire need is part of the government’s strategy to ensure the country’s fiscal sustainability in the medium and long term,” he added.

Tengku Zafrul also said that large amounts of government funds had been spent to address the impact of the pandemic, including saving people’s lives through national vaccination programmes as well as maintaining employment and business capacity through wage subsidy programmes.

He said in an effort to rebuild the country’s funds and fiscal resilience, the holistic cessation of subsidies reflected the government’s fair and responsible attitude in ensuring the fate of the B40 group is safeguarded.

He added that the ministry was also reviewing the country’s fiscal resources that needed to be strengthened to rebuild Malaysia’s socio-economic resilience.

Meanwhile, the report showed that a total of 92 companies had applied for the Danajamin Prihatin Guarantee Scheme as at June 10, of which the total guarantee approved was RM2.08bil for 61 companies.

For the Wage Subsidy Programme, the government had channelled more than RM20bil to more than 350,000 employers to maintain the employment of nearly three million local workers in an effort to reduce the unemployment rate.

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