Pros and cons of govt subsidies explained

Jonathan Chai

KUCHING: Government subsidies are vital as they lighten the people’s burden amid the pandemic and ease the impact of the rising cost of living.

“As cooking oil and fuel are necessities, the government will subsidise them to the tune of RM8 billion but without adding to the country’s financial burden,” said Sarawak Business Federation (SBF) secretary-general Jonathan Chai Voon Tok.

He pointed out that the rise in the prices of the commodities will translate into additional income for the country which produces the commodities.

“Nevertheless, the government will still incur additional expenditure to cover the price hike,” he explained when contacted on Sunday (June 13).

Chai recalled a report that any adjustment of every US dollar in crude oil prices would impact the nation’s coffers by up to RM300 million for the year.

“The higher oil price will be favourable to the financial position of our country. Of course, we need to tighten the enforcement and patrol at the borders to reduce or even eradicate any smuggling of those subsidised commodities to make sure only the people of this country enjoy the benefits,” he said.

Recently, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz announced that the allocation to cover fuel and cooking oil subsidies is up to RM8 billion.

He explained that it is RM4.22 billion higher due to an increase in current global market prices.