PONTIAN: Those in the T20 group will no longer be able to reap benefits meant for lower and middle income earners with the implementation of targeted fuel subsidies for RON95 petrol and diesel next year, says Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan.
The Deputy Finance Minister said that more than RM50bil were spent on subsidising fuel such as RON95, diesel and gas that were enjoyed by all Malaysians including the T20 group.
"We do not want the rich to get more than the poor. They are already getting more as it is now with their bigger cars due to RON95 being subsidised at RM2.05 per litre.
"They have the financial capabilities to pay more for their petrol compared to those in M40 and B40 who have smaller cars and even ride motorcycles," he added.
Ahmad, who was also the Pontian MP, said this when met after attending a Hari Raya Aidilfitri gathering organised by Johor Writers Association here on Friday (May 19).
He added that the current subsidy mechanism must be fixed immediately to ensure it reaches its target groups, which are the lower and middle income earners.
"However, bus operators, including school buses, will still get the subsidy for diesel as we do not want to see them hiking their fares, which would burden the people," he said.
Ahmad also said the government was able to save RM4bil between January and July last year when it removed electricity subsidies to companies and corporations.
"This is why we are looking at having a proper subsidy system in place as the revenue we save can go back to the people. The government can build more hospitals, clinics and schools," he added.
On Thursday (May 18), Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub said the implementation of targeted fuel subsidies for RON95 petrol and diesel was expected to begin next year.
He said the National Economic Action Council (MTEN) agreed in a meeting on Wednesday (May 17) that an integrated database should be prepared to ensure the effectiveness of the implementation of the initiative.
Salahuddin added the discussions involved his ministry, the Finance Ministry, Transport Ministry and Investment, Trade, and Industry Ministry.
"All agencies and ministries already have their own databases, we just need to coordinate and make sure they are accurate and effective when it (targeted subsidies for diesel) is implemented," he said.
On Monday (May 15), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the government has implemented a subsidy targeting programme in stages starting from January 2023 when the government would no longer provide full electricity tariff subsidies to large companies that use a large amount of electricity.
He said targeted and sustainable subsidy management was a priority in ensuring government spending is channelled to development needs that can provide higher added value to the national economy.
Anwar, who is also the Finance Minister, said the nation’s diesel subsidy system should be improved as the country’s subsidy liability jumped to RM13bil last year.