Questions on fuel subsidy plan may stay unanswered

Questions on fuel subsidy plan may stay unanswered
Prime Minister datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak flanked by 2nd Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah (left) Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan and Treasury secretary General Tan Seri Dr. Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah (far right) leaving the Finance Ministry to table Budget 2015 in Parliament in Putrajaya.

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - The questions on how the new fuel subsidy scheme will be implemented are likely to remain unanswered, at least for the next few days if not weeks.

This is after numerous attempts to get more details on the proposed scheme from ministers and deputy ministers yesterday came to nought.

Deputy Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Paduka Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah was apologetic for not being able to provide any details on the new scheme.

"I am sorry. I don't have information on the new (fuel) subsidy scheme," he said in his text message to the reporter.

Ministry's secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad said the scheme had not been finalised yet.

"At the moment, I don't want to make any comment," he said via a text message.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah also did not reply to text messages seeking his response to the growing criticism from the public that the Government seemed to make piecemeal announcements on major decisions without giving further details.

Under the scheme, which Ahmad Husni revealed on Monday, those earning below RM5,000 (S$ 1,900) per month would receive full subsidy while those earning between RM5,001 and RM10,000 would get a "partial subsidy".

In George Town, Penang Consumer Protection Association president K. Koris Atan described the proposed scheme as "a fair deal for the lower income earners".

However, comments on The Star's Facebook questioned what was wrong with the higher income enjoying "a little bit of subsidy".

A Facebook user Zakry Zainuddin said: "Buying a big car, pay more excise tax and road tax, yet… They cannot enjoy a little bit of subsidy."

Another user Ivy Khoo said many of the wealthy people had drivers and they would use the driver's identification card to fuel their car.

Mohd Zaki Akbar, in his post, said:"Now they want to micro-­manage subsidy for petrol. If a person with no fixed income wants to refuel, how will the mechanism work?"

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