Johari Ghani urges targeted subsidies to be implemented as soon as possible

by HAJAR UMIRA MD ZAKI / pic MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

TITIWANGSA MP Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani (picture) urged the government to accelerate the targeted subsidies method to tackle the embezzlement and smuggling issues of the subsidies.

Following the issue, Johari highlighted research from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), which stated that 42% of the top 20% income group (T20) received benefits from the subsidies compared to only 14% of the bottom 40% income group (B40).

“This blanket subsidy can be substituted with direct cash distribution, which is primarily targeted at the B40 and middle 40% income group (M40). Take the savings subsidy for B40 and M40. Even if these funds are depleted, they will still benefit the intended recipients.

“It will also stop embezzlement and smuggling activities. The implementation of this targeted subsidy also helps the government’s fiscal position and achieves the government’s target to reduce the fiscal deficit to 3% from 5.6%,” he told Dewan Rakyat today.

Johari was debating the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) Mid-Term Review (MTR) which was tabled yesterday by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He touched upon Anwar’s statement during the Budget 2023 tabling last February that Malaysia was known to bear RM10 billion loss due to the embezzlement and smuggling issues of the subsidies such as diesel subsidy.

Johari said the RM10 billion loss could be channelled to those in need or could be used by the government to build 50,000 affordable houses.

The government can implement targeted subsidy policies without delay, even though these policies may not be popular and could create pressure on the government. With the power that the government holds, I believe we have to endure this short-term pain for long-term gain,” he added.