Umno tells government not to arbitrarily remove subsidies

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The Umno Supreme Council has publicly spoken out against plans by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government to scale back on subsidies.

“The targeted subsidies planned by the government must truly benefit the majority who are suffering from the rising cost of living.

“This includes not arbitrarily withdrawing subsidies simply due to weak enforcement,” Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan said in a statement after a supreme council meeting last night.

The meeting was chaired by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Ismail Sabri is an Umno vice-president.

Ahead of Budget 2023, the government has been discussing shifting from blanket to targeted subsidies. This includes the price of cooking oil and petrol.

On June 21, the government announced that it will remove subsidies for bottled cooking oil and also lift the ceiling price for chicken and eggs. Cooking oil in 1kg polybags will continue to be subsidised.

However, three days later, just hours before the Umno Supreme Council meeting, the government made a U-turn, stating that it will not allow the free float of chicken prices but will instead set a new ceiling price.

The Umno Supreme Council welcomed the government’s decision on the ceiling price as well as assurances not to increase electricity and water tariffs.

Ahmad also urged the government to address the rising cost of food holistically.

“For example, with regard to the price of chicken, the proposal to set up a National Poultry Board should be considered so that the issue of chicken supply, from the supply of chicks, rearing, and feed cost, can be addressed holistically and to prevent manipulation by cartels with vested interests,” he said. – Malaysiakini