Putrajaya yet to finalise fuel subsidy scheme, target group

KUCHING, Oct 2: The federal government has received public feedback on the proposed introduction of the targeted fuel subsidy scheme for both RON95 and diesel but has yet to make a final decision on the matter.

Deputy Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen said the initial proposed targeted petrol subsidy scheme was only for the B40 group.

However, such proposal has yet to be finalised and confirmed by the Cabinet, he reiterated.

“At present, what we have is the general fuel subsidy scheme, in other words, fixing the Petrol RON95 price at RM2.08 per litre and diesel price at RM2.18 per litre,” he explained in a press statement today.

Without this general fuel subsidy scheme, he added that the price of RON95 will be RM2.49 per litre and diesel RM2.39 per litre, given the current international crude oil price.

He pointed out that the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government had removed the general fuel subsidy scheme without any targeted fuel subsidy scheme in place.

“Had BN continued to be the government of the day, all of us would have been paying RON95 at approximately RM2.50 per litre and diesel at RM2.40 per litre for the past one year,” he stated.

“With the current general fuel subsidy scheme, the total estimated subsidy that the government pays to maintain the current fuel prices is approximately RM173 million per week,” he said.

Chong, who is also Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman, added that the total estimated subsidy paid out by the government to the oil companies to maintain the current price of RON95 at RM2.08 per litre and diesel at RM2.18 per litre was approximately RM7 billion a year.

“As such, given the high government debt, there is the fiscal pressure to reduce this subsidy burden on the government by introducing the targeted fuel subsidy scheme,” he explained.

However, Chong said the Cabinet has yet to make a decision whether to maintain the current general fuel subsidy scheme, or to introduce the targeted fuel subsidy or a hybrid scheme, and whether the subsidy would be confined to B40 or to include M40 as well.

“This will be decided by the Cabinet ministers collectively and announcement likely to be made in the tabling of the national Budget soon on Oct 11.

“Till then, prices of RON 95 and diesel are maintained at RM2.08 per litre and 2.18 per litre respectively.” — DayakDaily