Chong: New government helps rakyat save RM2b on fuel thus far

A file pic of Chong (right) checking the price of goods at Everrise Supermarket.

KUCHING, Sept 11: The Pakatan Harapan-led federal government has spent over RM2 billion in fuel subsidies to ease the people’s burden since taking over Putrajaya in May.

Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen said about RM1.33 billion of the subsidy was for RON95 petrol and RM777 million for diesel.

The retail prices of RON95 and diesel have been fixed at RM2.20 and RM2.18 per litre, while the price of RON97 is floated on a weekly basis.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced in June this year that the federal government had allocated RM3 billion to subsidise and maintain the retail prices of RON95 and diesel till the end of this year.

“Despite the increase in global crude oil prices, we adhere to our manifesto and maintain the price of petrol, including diesel. If there had not been a change in government, the people might have to pay the extra RM2 billion to buy petrol and diesel.

“We adhere to our stabilisation of fuel policy so that the people do not have to pay more,” Chong told reporters after a price-check visit to a local supermarket chain here today.

The Bandar Kuching MP revealed that the federal government spent about RM384 million to subsidise RON95 in May this year, followed by RM314 million in June and RM319 million in July. Putrajaya estimated the subsidy at RM310 million for August.

For diesel, Putrajaya subsidised about RM232 million for May and in June, and RM211 million for July. The estimate for August is RM131 million.

Touching on the price-check operations in line with the implemantation of the Sales and Services Tax (SST) on Sept 1, Chong was contented that Everrise BDC had maintained the prices of goods since the zero-rating of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) last June.

He said the price of the top 20 saleable items at Everrise had decreased since the abolishment of the GST. He believed the prices of most goods would remain the same across the board.

“Under GST, only 500 items of goods were exempted when compared to 5,400 items under the SST. Therefore, most of the goods in the supermarket would be exempted from SST.

“If we look at the overall figure under GST, total tax paid by the people amounted to RM44 billion annually. Under SST, the total tax paid by the people is RM21 billion. In a nutshell, the people would pay RM23 billion less in tax to the government. This is RM23 billion that would remain in the pockets of the people,” Chong added.

On a related note, he said stern actions had been taken against several suppliers who increased the price of their goods unreasonably since the implementation of SST.

Enforcement officers have conducted checks on thousands of manufacturers, wholesalers and businesses since the implementation of SST, he added.

Chong was happy to note that the country’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation rate, grew 0.8 per cent as in June (the lowest since 2015) since the zero-rating GST. — DayakDaily