Govt seeks more time for new petrol subsidy plan

NIBONG TEBAL: A federal minister has pleaded for more time to complete the new plan for petrol subsidies which will be targeted at those with low incomes.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, said he was optimistic that the system could be put in place this year.

The original target set in the 2019 Budget was for it to begin in the second quarter of this year.

Saifuddin said that he had held numerous meetings from January to June this year with interested groups such as oil companies, petrol station operators, consumer associations, and officials of Bank Negara, Customs, Road Transport Department in an effort to find the best mechanism to implement the system.

“We took the first two quarters (on preparations and research on the mechanism) and now we have completed them. However, the implementation should only be carried out with the permission or consent from the Cabinet and we are now in the midst of preparing a Cabinet paper, a joint effort between the ministry and the Finance Ministry.

“We are now in the second week of July and I am optimistic that we can present this Cabinet paper this month, and once we have done that, we can announce it,” he told reporters after opening a petroleum safety campaign at a petrol station in Jawi.

Malaysians normally use about 1.2 billion litres of petrol each month with 90 per cent of it being subsidised RON95 while the rest is RON97.

In February this year, the government announced the price of RON95 petrol was capped at RM2.08 for all consumers regardless of the global petrol price.

Saifuddin said the Cabinet paper comprised all planning and mechanisms of the the targeted petrol subsidy system including the timeline and the number of recipients, in detail.

He said for now everything went well and his ministry did not face any problems in preparing the paper.