Pakatan: Government should cut spending, not subsidies, to help Malaysians cope with rising prices

Removing subsidies would further expose Malaysians, especially the B40 income class, to rising prices they were already struggling to afford. — Photo by Firdaus Latif

By R. Loheswar

Monday, June 27, 2022 11:08 GMT

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 – The federal government should put in place immediate cost-cutting measures such as freezing all official overseas travel and suspending mega-projects to free up funds to address the cost crisis life in Malaysia, said a Pakatan Harapan (PH) committee.

The coalition’s cost of living committee has also suggested that the administration of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob reduce the number of ministries and lower the salaries of Cabinet members as part of this austerity drive.

He said these measures should have been attempted before revoking subsidies which would further expose Malaysians, especially the B40 income class, to rising prices they were already struggling to pay.

“We take the government’s decision to remove food subsidies very seriously. We find this decision half-baked, irresponsible and hasty, as it will only further burden the already struggling audience.

“We want the government to rethink its strategies and return these subsidies before July 1, because by then the prices of basic necessities will rise,” the committee said in a statement today.

In addition to the reductions he proposed, he also recommended reducing the allowances of ministers and their assistants, in particular those for holidays and trips abroad.

The prime minister should also end the appointment of his special envoys to the Middle East, India, China and the United States, who were each the equivalent of federal ministers and entitled to similar salaries and allowances, said said the committee.

It further recommended a review of salaries and allowances paid to senior executives and directors of state-linked companies and statutory bodies.

The government should further suspend massive infrastructure projects such as MRT3, ECRL and Bandar Malaysia as these would not immediately benefit the country which was facing a cost of living crisis.

“Apart from that, this committee wants price caps for chickens and eggs to be maintained as well as subsidies to farmers so that they do not suffer from supply chain problems.

“The price of RON95 petrol should also be maintained at RM2 per liter and the proposal to increase water and electricity tariffs should be abolished for the benefit of all,” he added.

On June 21, the Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP), Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi, said that price cap controls for chicken, chicken eggs and subsidies for bottled palm oil of two, three and five kilograms (kg) will not be maintained. from July 1.

Ismail Sabri later announced increased payments from Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia to between RM50 and RM100 in response.

When the public backlash continued, the Prime Minister then said chicken and egg prices would not be allowed to float after all, but denied it was a U-turn.

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