Diesel subsidy rationalisation may not be possible for Sabah, Sarawak due to wide usage, says Anwar

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (centre) beating a traditional drum together with Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg (left) and Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah at the state Gawai dinner on Saturday (June 22) night. - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: The Federal Government's decision to exempt Sarawak and Sabah from the diesel subsidy rationalisation exercise was not due to demands from both states, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Instead, the Prime Minister said, it was because the government understood the situation in the two states.

"When we implemented the subsidy rationalisation in Peninsular Malaysia, we exempted Sabah and Sarawak because many people in both states still depend on diesel for transport and other purposes.

"So we deferred the rationalisation exercise in Sabah and Sarawak. In fact, it may not be possible since diesel is so widely used here," he said at the state Gawai dinner at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching on Saturday (June 22) night.

The price of diesel was floated in Peninsular Malaysia according to the unsubsidised market rate effective June 10.

In Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, the diesel price remains at the subsidised rate of RM2.15.

Anwar said some peninsular politicians had criticised the decision to exempt the Borneo states from the rationalisation exercise.

"To the critics, I invite them to come to Sarawak and Sabah and understand the situation in both states.

"The exemption was not done because Sabah and Sarawak demanded it but because we understand the situation," he said.

Moving forward, Anwar said the government would ensure that subsidies would go to deserving Malaysian citizens in the B40 and M40 categories.

He said the rationalisation of subsidies would also improve Malaysia's competitiveness.

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