Saifuddin: Govt to meet July deadline for fuel subsidy

KPDNHEP to continue the series of discussion with various levels of stakeholders to ensure the viability of the chosen mechanism

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH & S BIRRUNTHA / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE implementation of fuel subsidy could be introduced in July as the government is in the final stage of identifying the viable mechanism, said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

He added that the ministry, which has been tasked to engage with various levels of stakeholders, would continue the series of discussion to ensure the viability of the chosen mechanism.

“The Ministry of Finance (MoF) will finalise its selection of vendors through the issuance of a request for proposal.

“On my part, the ministry acts as the enforcement party to ensure that all stakeholders are involved in the process and that their opinions are taken into consideration,” he told reporters at the launch of Percetakan Nasional Malaysia Bhd’s Payfo product in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Saifuddin Nasution said the implementation of the subsidy would involve the building of its own data system, which is separated from the Bantuan Sara Hidup’s (BSH) list of beneficiaries.

“We are in the final stages of preparing the complete mechanism and we will announce it when it is fully ready…at the moment, we are establishing a data system for the recipients to ensure that the subsidy will be properly and evenly distributed,” he said.

In March, Saifuddin Nasution said the mechanism for the targeted fuel subsidy is expected to be finalised in July.

Prior to this, it was also reported that the government plans to use a dedicated system which allows eligible recipients to be given a discount card or a coupon for the petrol disbursement, involving a RM2 billion allocation.

However, the minister told the Dewan Rakyat last month that transferring the allocation via the recipients’ bank accounts would be more practical.

According to him, the BSH database identifies that 90% of the bottom 40% (B40) income group who are eligible to receive the subsidy have personal bank accounts, while the remaining 10% have not, particularly those in the rural areas.

Previously, Saifuddin Nasution said the list of beneficiaries is being prepared by 17 related agencies including the Inland Revenue Board, National Registration Depart ment and the Road Transport Department.

He also mentioned that the government is waiting for the BSH secretariat to submit the updated list of the eligible B40 recipients.

As of April, there are 4.1 million BSH’s beneficiaries.

The fuel subsidy could be the government’s initial step in reducing the cost of living for the B40 group as the ministry intends to extend the subsidy to other consumer goods — such as cooking oil, flour and liquified petroleum gas.

The subsidy of 30 sen per litre for RON95 petrol, which was announced under Budget 2019 last year, is expected to benefit owners of cars and motorcycles with 1,500cc and 125cc engines respectively.