Reactions vary over subsidy removal


By Neville Timothy Sanders & Nura Valentiana Lorna

KUCHING: While some consumers agree with the government’s decision to discontinue the subsidy for bottled 2kg, 3kg and 5kg cooking palm oil effective July 1 to curb abuse by the commercial sector and smugglers, others have expressed their frustrations over the decision.

The B40 group will feel the pinch, they say.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi said recently subsidies for palm cooking oil in bottles of 2kg, 3kg and 5kg bottles would be discontinued beginning July while the subsidy for the product in 1kg polybag packages offered at RM2.50 per packet would be maintained.

Cooking oil sold in 2kg, 3kg and 5kg bottles presently have maximum retail prices capped at RM12.70, RM18.70 and RM29.70 respectively.

New Sarawak Tribune conducted a quick survey, and consumers and traders feel the subsidy should remain until the economy recovers.

Let’s hear their views.

Nenssy Lucas

Nenssy Lucas, 32, Housewife

I have a very small family – my husband, my baby and I. So abolishing the subsidy won’t affect us much. But I think the government should do something to help those large families, especially the B40 group. We, the people, should at least have adequate food to feed our family.

Dominikayati Abdullah, 62

Dominikayati Abdullah, 62, Housewife

The subsidy abolition only involves bottled cooking oil. The people can opt for the 1kg polybag packages instead. However, traders make it hard for us because they have started to limit purchases to three packs per family! The government should look into this.

Effa Syafiqah

Effa Syafiqah, 27, Baker

As the price of cooking necessities will increase, we traders also need to raise our price. But this will make our customers to opt for other choices. The government should bring down the price of bottled cooking oil. Or don’t put a limit to the purchase of any cooking oil products.

Elissa Langgi

Elissa Langgi, 36, Accountant

Traders will have no choice but to increase the price as per market value without the subsidy and this is to ensure their business will not suffer any loss in the long run. Consumers on the hand, suffer the most. But this will make them go for other choices. Increasing wages to lessen the people’s burden could be a solution, but capping commodity prices would be better .

Kingsley Labot

Kingsley Labot, 34, Safety and Health Executive

This will no doubt burden our fellow small and medium business owners in the food industries. When the cooking oil price rises, food prices will have to increase. Panic buying surely will happen before July 1 and this will make things worse. The government should have just maintained the subsidy for bottle cooking oil so that people could enjoy affordable prices, especially when the living cost is so high these days.

Laura Dee Dee Cotter

Laura Dee Dee Cotter, 24, English Teacher

Traders are the ones who will benefit from the decision, and consumers, on the other hand, especially those in the B40 group, will suffer as they will have to spend more on essentials. The government shouldn’t abolish subsidies for certain cooking oils until the economy recovers. Keep the subsidies and ceiling prices until all sectors have managed to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Until then, the government should do what’s best for the people in the long run.

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