KUCHING: The newly announced petrol subsidy meant for the targeted poor is off target because Sarawakians will not benefit from it, said Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Youth chief Datuk Snowdan Lawan.

The petrol subsidy scheme which was launched on Monday (Oct 7) in Kuala Lumpur by the Domestic Trade And Consumer Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution will cover cars with engines of 1600 cc and below, and vehicles more than 10 years old above 1600 cc are eligible for the RM30 monthly aid for four months. 

For motorcycles, the monthly subsidy of RM12 for engines below 150cc as well as 1500cc bikes older than 10 years, Sarawakians, Sabahans and Labuanese are all excluded too.

“Other than being a bad system, it’s hard to understand why it excludes Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan where almost all households, like their counterparts in Malaya, depend on petrol to travel or run machines,” said Snowdan.

To him, it is a selective, unbalanced and discriminatory scheme which defeats its own purpose.

“Moreover, only the existing ‘Bantuan Sara Hidup’ recipients plucked from their data base are eligible. What about other consumers such as smallholders who travel daily over long distances from their rural villages?

“This policy is totally discriminatory in assuming that all Malaysians have cars and motorcycles and favouring them over those who have no such amenities. It contradicts and even defeats Pakatan Harapan’s very own ‘Shared Prosperity Vision’ policy,” he said.

Snowdan argued that surely Sarawak is not being punished just because its people use more high-powered diesel vehicles exceeding 1600cc.

“If such vehicles are common to us, then subsidise our diesel as well. Why cap our petrol price at RM2.08 per litre when it could be lowered instead? The same goes for diesel.

“Comparatively our overall consumption is less because our population is smaller, but that’s not a criterion to exclude Sarawakians from the subsidy.

“Our oil and gas producing state is excluded when in fact Sarawakians should have the cheapest petrol or diesel in Malaysia,” he said.

He sees the scheme as a blatant pick and choose policy by the PH government when it should be applied across the board benefitting all citizens regardless of vehicle engine power.

Sarawakians should by now be very aware that the PH government always sidelines them as shown by the cancellation or suspension of several projects in the state.

“Deputy minister Chong Chieng Jen whom we expect to stand up for us is toothless on this and in fact came in support of having no petrol subsidy for us. It’s only right to vote him and his kind out in the next election,” he said.