Malaysiakini Letter

Petrol subsidy should be based on usage

Ng Shu Tsung

LETTER | Many would agree with the government to withdraw the petrol subsidy come next year as per the recent budget speech as such blanket subsidies are mostly enjoyed and consumed more by the richer part of society.

It is also good that the registered eligible households and qualified persons will enjoy direct cash aid to be banked into their bank accounts.

However, cash bank-ins for petrol subsidies for the poor should be based on usage instead of a fixed time period. There could be circumstances where a qualified person gets a fixed monthly amount of RM30 for a car or RM12 for a motorcycle even when the vehicle is seldom used.

The subsidy should be based on usage instead of a fixed quarterly amount.

At least then, with the blanket subsidised petrol, the subsidy accrues to a person based on his or her useage where the more petrol one uses, the more subsidy the person enjoys.

There is also a foreseen misuse to qualify for the fixed subsidy where a qualified person who has more than two vehicles transfers one eligible vehicle to another qualified person, maybe a relative who has no transportation. That way, two people would get the payout.

The current fixed monthly allowance based on number of vehicles can be open to abuse. Thus a measurement based on usage would be more appropriate and fair.

One way is to use the MyKad or a restricted-issue subsidy card as a monitoring system of usage for qualified persons to use at petrol stations. 

The subsidy benefit would then be based on usage and would be fairer. Once the limit is exceeded, then no more subsidy is provided.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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