Published on: Friday, September 06, 2013
Kota Kinabalu: Savings from fuel subsidy reduction will enable the Government to implement more development programmes for the people's benefit, Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said Thursday.
"Even I myself, if given a choice, I want to further reduce fuel price and increase subsidy, but if we increase the subsidy for fuel, we are taking away the people's rights to get other things. For instance, the nation has to be developed and hospitals have to be built.
"In terms of the telecommunications system, Sabah is among the states that received substantial allocation, but still is not enough. From 2006 till now, RM800 million to increase and upgrade telecommunication apparatus but is inadequate," he told reporters when asked to comment on the 20 sen increase for a litre of RON95 petrol and diesel effective Sept 1.
Earlier, Ahmad Shabery visited the site for the Malaysia Day celebrations on Sept 16 at Taman Prince Philip in Tanjung Aru, near here.
Ahmad Shabery said if the Government used part of the money, which was supposed to be spent for development, to pay for the fuel subsidy, "it will only benefit foreigners who came here (Malaysia} because petrol and diesel in Malaysia are very cheap than in their own countries."
"This is because their country did not take their people's money to subsidise oil price. That's why the Government decided to reduce fuel subsidies but the money is ploughed back to the people.
"For instance, in the form of 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) and many other programmes are to be announced in the 2014 Budget in Parliament on Oct 25.
"So, we have to wait for the budget on how the savings from the subsidy reduction are to be rationalised. We cannot be fully dependent on cheap fuel, not cheap in real terms, but the people's money is used to reduce the subsidy," he said.
Ahmad Shabery said this matter might be difficult to understand initially, but "what's important is that fuel price becomes more expensive now because of lack of subsidy, and this does not mean that our revenue will also be reduced.
"The logic is, our purchasing power will be reduced, but the money invested will create job opportunities and will benefit everybody. For example, the people in Sabah want better broadband service.
"But if the money is used for subsidies...the people who benefit are foreigners.
The two to three million-odd foreigners living in this country also enjoy the fuel subsidy provided by the Government," he said.
Hence, Ahmad Shabery said it was better for the money be used to help Malaysians.