Subsidies move unwise and wasteful: Shafie
Published on: Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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Subsidies move unwise and wasteful: Shafie
Shafie said last month, the Government had to pay RM7.5 billion for the 1MDB debt and another RM7.5 billion to be paid at the end of the year.  
Kota Kinabalu: Parti Warisan (Warisan) urged the Government to come up with a confidence-boosting strategic plan to address the energy and food security issues in the country. 

Its President Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) said while short-term assistance is needed, it has to be targeted.  

“Spending RM77.3 billion for ‘subsidies’, with the bulk allocated for energy subsidies that benefit the higher income group, is unwise and wasteful,” he said.  

He said the move was not sustainable and showed unsound management of the country’s economy.  

Shafie pointed out that the subsidies for this year are higher than the national development expenditure of RM76.6 billion.  

“Where do we get the money for this?”  

He said last month, the Government had to pay RM7.5 billion for the 1MDB debt and another RM7.5 billion to be paid at the end of the year.  

“Together with the subsidies, the rakyat will have to fork out RM92 billion.  

“In comparison, we are only spending 10 per cent of that on development expenditures for health and education which are beneficial in the longer run. 

“Where is the country heading to? We have a bloated Cabinet, Economic Council and Economic Recovery Council, and yet the Government cannot even handle the price of chicken.  

“Economic problems in the country are getting worse and to spend money on subsidies will not improve the situation.  

“The people need help but giving subsidies is momentary and not sustainable. What happens after the money for subsidies runs out?” 

Shafie also asked the Government to explain to the people how the subsidies will be financed and what impact it will have on the government debt and deficit. 

He proposed that the subsidies be re-allocated and revamped to specifically target deserving households.  

At the same time, a review of excesses, starting with the bloated Cabinet and overpaid GLCs, as shown by the irresponsible move to increase by 60 per cent the allowance given to the Chairman of FGV Berhad, must be carried out swiftly. 

 “I would suggest not just a 25 per cent cut in their salaries and allowances but the number of Ministers and Deputy Ministers to be cut by half,” he said in a statement, Monday. 

There should also be a freeze on salaries and bonuses for the top management and board of directors of GLCs.  

“There is also a need to speedily focus on food security, with the Government providing loans and opportunities to develop idle federal land for cash crops.  

“This will reduce pressures on food imports and food prices.  

 “The revamp of subsidies must at the same time channel towards improving and expanding public transportation, especially in the rural areas.”   

Shafie also called for fair taxation, with the expansion of tax revenue.  

He argued that the hardworking lower and middle-class should not be required to pay GST as the GST is regressive, yet the rich pay no tax on their capital gain or inheritance.  

“Tax policies must be fair and not punish the poor.  

“An overall strategy must be focused on improving the standard of living and an inclusive economy that creates more jobs with better pay.  

“The taxpayers’ money should be put to better use by creating industries and businesses that will have a multiplying effect instead of spending on the Cabinet or subsiding the rich by giving them discounted petrol. 

“This way we create wealth and purchasing power to get our economy moving. 

“Most importantly, we need inspired leadership to steer us from the current economic troubles, leaders that have empathy and put the interest of the rakyat first and foremost,” he said. 

He also said the country needs to carry out reforms through better policies and strategies that will ensure Malaysia’s economic recovery and sustainability while fortifying it to face challenges brought about by local and global crises.

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