Two-week deadline for subsidy plan

PUTRAJAYA: Targeted subsidies are among the main issues discussed at the National Action Council on Cost of Living special meeting chaired by the Prime Minister.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said a two-week time frame was given to government agencies to look into ways of addressing rising cost of living.

He added that it would include the proposal of targeted subsidies for lower-income individuals and improving incentives for the private sector.

“The subsidies must be targeted (for lower-income households).

“If not, even the rich ones will enjoy the subsidies. Therefore, I give two weeks to the government to study the implications of targeted subsidies while also discussing the matter with the private sector and investors.

“We will improve other services and incentives for companies to ensure that they’re also not burdened,” he said after chairing the meeting at Perdana Putra here yesterday.

Anwar also pointed out that for electricity tariffs, the same benefits were enjoyed by both lower and higher-income households.

He said that while the subsidy would continue, it would not make sense for the richest to receive the same.

“The electric tariffs that were presented previously benefit both the poor and the rich.

“That doesn’t make sense; it’s called subsidy but the benefit goes to someone else.

“The tariffs will continue but might not be for the people with higher incomes,” he added.

Also present at the press conference were Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry secretary-general Datuk Azman Mohd Yusof.

Anwar said the two-week deadline was given to the relevant agencies to draft a plan before presenting it to the Cabinet for approval, adding that rising cost of living was a pressing issue for lower-income individuals.

“When the Cabinet is finalised, we can study the proposals by the relevant ministries,” he said.

On the new Cabinet, Anwar said it would be announced in the next few days after discussions with the component parties in the unity government.

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