Call to mon­i­tor sub­sidy pay­ments

> Mus­lim con­sumer body warns of po­ten­tial abuses


PETALING JAYA: There is mixed re­ac­tion to the 2017 Bud­get an­nounced by Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Ab­dul Razak on Fri­day.

While the pub­lic gen­er­ally wel­comes the gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies for essen­tials, con­sumer groups say this prac­tice of dish­ing out sub­si­dies should be mon­i­tored thor­oughly by the gov­ern­ment.

Malaysian Mus­lim Con­sumers As­so­ci­a­tion (PPIM) rep­re­sen­ta­tive Datuk Nadzim Jo­han Jo­har said the act of con­tin­u­ously giv­ing out sub­si­dies is not the best way as it af­fects tax­pay­ers in the long term.

“As the gov­ern­ment keeps giv­ing out sub­si­dies, along with BR1M (Ban­tuan Rakyat 1Malaysia), it needs to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion be­cause there are those who aren’t el­i­gi­ble who may ben­e­fit too,” he said when con­tacted yes­ter­day.

He cited as an ex­am­ple Sec­ond Fi­nance Min­is­ter Datuk Jo­hari Ab­dul Ghani’s state­ment in Ming­guan Malaysia on peo­ple who have been known to sell sub­sidised cook­ing oil out­side of the coun­try, re­sult­ing in the gov­ern­ment los­ing RM540 mil­lion an­nu­ally.

Jo­hari said the gov­ern­ment had sub­sidised 85,000 tonnes of cook­ing oil, which falls un­der the con­trolled items scheme.

Un­der the new bud­get, RM10 bil­lion fuel sub­si­dies have been chan­nelled to­wards cook­ing gas, toll charges and pub­lic trans­port.

A RM1.3 bil­lion al­lo­ca­tion to sub­sidise rice, seeds and fer­tilis­ers in­clud­ing hill padi was also added to the list.

The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC), while wel­com­ing the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to sub­sidise prices of cook­ing gas, toll and pub­lic trans­porta­tion for the peo­ple, ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment that there are no ben­e­fits for pri­vate- sec­tor em­ploy­ees.

Its sec­re­tary-gen­eral N. Gopal Kish­nam said the con­tri­bu­tions of pri­vate-sec­tor em­ploy­ees are also im­por­tant to the growth of the econ­omy and should not have been side­lined.

He said among the is­sues not in­cluded in the bud­get are the re­quest to in­crease min­i­mum wage to RM1,200 na­tion­wide and a RM300 cost-of-liv­ing al­lowance for pri­vate-sec­tor em­ploy­ees.

Mean­while, the Malaysian Em­ploy­ers Fed­er­a­tion (MEF) had re­port­edly said it hopes the new in­come tax scheme de­signed for com­pa­nies from next year will ad­dress re­trench­ment is­sues in the coun­try.

MEF ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Datuk Sham­sud­din Bar­dan said as the tax re­duc­tion would be re­lated to the com­pany’s per­for­mance, this would help the com­pany be more prof­itable and man­age their hu­man re­sources op­er­a­tions more ef­fi­ciently to in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity.

He said with the tax re­duc­tion, com­pa­nies would be mo­ti­vated to upgrade skills and tech­nolo­gies to im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity.

LESS THAN RM3,000. RM3,000 – RM4,000. BE­LOW RM2,000. BR1M RE­CIP­I­ENTS IN B40 GROUP RM5,000 grant RM150,000 of RM60 mil­lion RM120,000 to RM200,000 RM600,000 to RM750,000. 10,000 RM300,000.

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