Targeted subsidies may be extended to M40, says minister

Rising cost of living remains a primary issue among B40 and M40 groups

By LYDIA NATHAN / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Targeted subsidies rolled out for the bottom 40% (B40) income group could be extended for the medium 40% (M40) income group, said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

He said the rising cost of living remains a primary issue among the B40 and lower half of the M40 households.

He added that a potential extension of subisidies would also fall in line with the government’s aspiration to implement targeted subsidies which could ensure aid for deserving Malaysians.

Saifuddin Nasution said he has suggested the expansion of targeted subsidies and will need to correct some flaws found in the current targeted subsidy mechanism.

“A study was conducted for the 10 receivers of targeted subsidies in the Klang Valley — data showed three went elsewhere.

“The people should have gotten it, but they did not,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia classify the M40 and the B40 groups by a median household income of RM6,725 and RM3,000 respectively.

The top 20% is defined as the class of citizens who have a median household income of at least RM13,148.

“For the B40 group, we started with fuel subsidies. Next, we want to look at subsidies for cooking oil.

“The 1kg oil in plastic bags are actually meant for the B40 group, but restaurant owners are also buying it. That is not a successful targeted subsidy,” he said.

Saifuddin Nasution said the government will also look at flour subsidies next.

“Specifications need to be discussed with (the appointed) vendor to see how we can go about it, and when is the soonest we can roll it out.

“We also need to verify it with 17 other agencies,” he said.