Govt will announce timeline for diesel subsidy rationalisation when it is ready, says Rafizi

PUTRAJAYA: The government will announce the timeline for the rationalisation of diesel subsidies when it is ready as it wants to avoid speculative inflation, says Rafizi Ramli.

According to the Economy Minister, one of the main considerations for the diesel subsidy rationalisation is the sequencing, which is key in maintaining the balance between wage growth, putting money in the public’s pockets and inflation.

ALSO READ: No final decision yet on diesel subsidy cut, says Anwar

Although it was previously announced that the diesel subsidy rationalisation will happen this year, Rafizi said that it may take some time.

“That’s why we keep it very close to our chest because it is precisely about sequencing and it’s quite obvious (it will happen) because a lot of work, discussions and coordination have been done.

“The final decision as to the best sequencing will be decided by the Cabinet and we are not at that stage yet.

“The plan began with Padu (Central Database Hub) which is to ensure the data needed is readily available when the government wants to do something.

ALSO READ: Treasury DG meets industry players on diesel subsidy programme

“For Padu, the data is ready and it depends on what mechanisms the government wants to employ. We are trying our best to avoid inflation speculation,” he told reporters when met here on Wednesday (May 15).

He said this when asked about updates on Padu and the rationalisation of diesel subsidies.

When asked about United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) suggestion for the government to set RM2,102 as the minimum wage, Rafizi said Putrajaya will consider the idea.

He said the government is currently working on addressing the cost of living issue by focusing on the public’s monthly earnings through its various initiatives such as reviewing civil servants salaries and the progressive wage policy project.

“If we compare things with the previous administrations, our focus now is on wages. This current Madani government is the most focused on issues related to salaries,” he said.

On May 8, the Unicef said the current RM1,500 minimum wage is too low for workers to sustain themselves and their families, based on a newly-published report titled “Living on the Edge: Longitudinal Study on Post-Covid-19 Impact Assessment Among Low-Income Households in Kuala Lumpur”.

Among others, the study, which involved 755 households living in 16 low-income flats in the city, found that many are struggling to make ends meet due to the high cost of living.

Rafizi pointed out that any policy implementation regarding wages must include all relevant stakeholders, not just the employers.

Earlier, Rafizi launched the second season of reality television show “Innovathon” where Malaysians of all ages get to show off their skills and innovative ideas to solve socio-economic issues in the country.

“The first season was a success and we’ve learned a lot from it, especially in regard to what we can improve for the second season.

“We want to attract more young people to join Innovathon...those from schools and universities because Innovathon is a rare occasion where we can pull everyone together and see what we can do for society.

“I hope we will get much more widespread acceptance this time and more people will accept the challenge,” Rafizi said.

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