Thursday, August 6

Report: Sabah, Sarawak excluded from targeted fuel subsidy due to riverine transport


An express boat plies the Rajang river. Such mode of transportation is still the main way of reaching longhouses in the upper parts of the river. File Photo

KUCHING: Putrajaya had decided not to extend the targeted fuel subsidy scheme to Sarawak and Sabah next year because of a lack of information on the number of boats plying the rivers in the two states, a news report said.

Explaining the federal government’s decision, which also affects Labuan, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister said the government did not have enough information on the usage of small boats in the east Malaysian states.

“These small boats are using portable engines which use petrol as fuel while some used the petrol generator set in their houses,” he said during the question-and-answer session in Dewan Rakyat as reported by MalaysiaKini.

“Currently, there is no main source data which (we) can use to identify the owner of small boats and generator set for us to channel petrol subsidy to the users,” he told Ronald Kiandee (Harapan-Beluran).

Saifuddin said the government therefore decided to continue with the RM2.08 per litre cap for RON95 when the new scheme comes into effect next year, pointing out that the cap was also a petrol subsidy.

Ronald had asked for the rationale of not providing the targeted fuel subsidy for the B40 group in the Borneo states.

“When newspapers reported that Sabah was not getting the petrol subsidy, Sabahans have imagined that the government introduced a policy that neglected the needs of the people there,” said Ronald.

On Monday, Saifuddin announced that the targeted subsidy scheme would only benefit car and motorcycle owners based in Peninsular Malaysia who are also recipients of the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH).

Saifuddin said the subsidy rate is RM30 a month for cars and RM12 a month for motorcycles, adding that fuel prices in the peninsular would be on a gradual float system.

It will go to owners of cars with 1,600cc engines and below or vehicles over 10 years old with engines larger than 1,600cc are eligible, and for motorcycles, only those with engines of 150cc and below, or bikes that are above 150cc but are more than seven years old are eligible.

It is estimated that 2.9 million people will benefit from the scheme, which will cost the government RM65.4 million a month.