By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 28: The gradual increase in RON95 petrol price by 1 to 2 sen was a measure to soften the impact of sudden hike in petrol prices when the targeted Petrol Subsidy Programme (PSP) kicks in, starting January next year.
Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Chong Chieng Jen, clarified that his statement in the Parliamentary session yesterday (Nov 27) has been taken a bit out of context without it being referred to a question from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) Kota Samarahan MP Rubiah Wang.
The Stampin MP said his reply was in response to Rubiah, who questioned about measures to be taken by the federal government to allay the possibility of sudden drastic increase in petrol prices, once the targeted PSP is implemented.
“Saying that increasing the petrol price was to reduce the burden of the rakyat sounded ridiculous, when my reply statement was taken in isolation by omitting the question.
“In fact, I meant that gradual increment of the RON95 petrol prices by 1 or 2 sen and not more than 3 sen, is one of the measures to soften the impact of sudden hike in petrol prices. As it is now, the market price (for RON95) is RM2.30,” he told reporters here today.
Chong reiterated that the rational behind the introduction of targeted PSP was that under the current subsidy programme, the cost was too much on the national coffer, besides leakages, where the rich were also enjoying subsidised petrol prices.
“We acknowledged the fact that the poorer income groups in the B40 and M40 will also be affected. So the mechanism is to give subsidy to the targeted poor income groups such as the RM30 a month for eligible car owners to ease the impact in increase in petrol prices,” he said.
While the targeted PSP will not be implemented in Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan, Chong said the current subsidy will continue to maintain the RON95 petrol price at RM2.08.
“In the event that RON95 petrol price dropped below RM2.08, the petrol price in the three regions will also be decreased according to the market rate. The maximum price is RM2.08.
“Even though the subsidy may be a burden to the federal government but this is the special deal for Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan. It is something extra and good so that the people can enjoy subsidy across the board,” he continued.
Earlier, Chong handed over the approval letter for the relocation of SJKC Kai Nang from its existing location in Sibu to a proposed new site in Kota Samarahan here, to the school’s building committee chairman Lee Jin Chiew.
Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong and the Association of the Boards of Management of Aided Chinese Primary School of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Division president, Jonathan Chai Voon Tok, were present. — DayakDaily