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Be clear on subsidy rationalisation timeline, says Khairy

Publish date: Sat, 18 May 2024, 08:27 AM

KUALA LUMPUR Former minister Khairy Jamaluddin said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should commit to communicating a clear timeline on subsidy rationalisation.

Speaking on the Keluar Sekejap podcast, Khairy said it is a 'missed opportunity' when Anwar stopped short of sharing the timeline of the subsidy rationalisation process even when there are indications that it is happening soon.

"For me, there are also things that need early signals. When it comes to economic management and its impact on the people's economy, it also touches on the government's projected revenue for the coming years with a fiscal management system.

"This signal needs to be sent not only to the public but also to local and foreign businesses and investors. He shouldn't be taking a cagey or secretive approach when there are a lot of indications that it (subsidy rationalisation) will happen," he said.

Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli had previously announced that the mechanism for distributing targeted subsidies could be implemented as early as the second quarter of this year.

He was also quoted to have said that his team was using the first quarter to process data obtained from Padu, launched on Jan 2 to ensure the efficient delivery of targeted subsidies.

However, in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday, Anwar reiterated the need to cut wasteful spending, including reducing excess subsidies, but stopped short of committing to a timeline for ending fuel subsidies.

Khairy's co-host, former Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan said Anwar's mixed messages could hurt investor's confidence.

"The economy minister (Rafizi Ramli) has already given more than a hint. He rolled out the central database hub (Padu) and recently said subsidy rationalisation would happen soon.

"When the prime minister (Anwar Ibrahim), who is his boss, goes to an international forum, a contradictory message is given. Investors won't like it," he said.

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