GEORGE TOWN (Jan 1): The government decided to defer the implementation of the targeted Petrol Subsidy Programme (PSP) out of concern that floating petrol prices might impact the people’s cost of living, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Lim said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government wanted to be sure that the implementation of the PSP would not adversely impact the cost of living, especially for the B40 group.
“That is why we are cautious about the PSP. That is what we want to discuss because flotation is expected to result in higher petrol price,” he told reporters after visiting the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge here in conjunction with the first day of toll reduction there.
Lim said consumers and even business people had voiced concerns about the effects of flotation of petrol prices as even an increase of just one or two sen a week would have an impact.
Last Monday, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail announced that the implementation of the PSP, originally scheduled to start this month, had been postponed to a date to be determined later.
Lim said the postponement would allow further studies to be done to ensure that full reduction could be given to benefit those who need help.
“The postponement of the PSP implementation is to ensure that the people can better understand this programme as it is meant to benefit the people especially the B40,” he said.
Lim, who is DAP secretary-general, also slammed MCA for criticising the government’s move to defer the PSP implementation.
He pointed out that when it was announced earlier that the government would give targeted subsidy and float petrol prices, the opposition party had also criticised the move for allegedly causing hardship to the people.
“But now when we postponed the PSP, the opposition also criticised us for not implementing it fast. So, we want to know what their (MCA) stand is or are they merely trying to seek political capital to criticise,” he added.
He said it looked like the Barisan Nasional (BN) now wanted the PH government to float petrol prices without considering its impact on the ordinary people.
“They (BN) might not be concerned but the Pakatan Harapan government certainly cares and is mindful of its impact on the people,” Lim said.