By Raveen Jeyakumar
For a long time, the government has not had enough funds to uplift the people’s lives.
So it’s high time it takes serious, immediate measures to better manage its funds.
The points in this piece have been put forward by the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM).
The government can implement three key measures to curb unnecessary expenditure and wastage and raise much-needed funds.
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1. Expedite targeted fuel subsidies
The government should expedite targeted fuel subsidies, currently slated for next year, as announced by Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan in May.
It should come up with a monthly cash aid scheme to allocate subsidies to target groups.
Under this scheme, the government calculates the extra fuel costs these groups will incur after the current subsidy programme ends. That extra amount is what the government needs to provide under the monthly cash aid scheme.
The government needs to carefully plan how this targeted cash aid scheme will replace the current subsidies programme. It also needs to consult the public before implementing the new scheme.
2. Replace cooking oil subsidies with a targeted monthly cash assistance scheme
In June Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said the country had far too many subsidy ‘leakages’, especially cooking oil subsidies.
There are just too many cases of abuse. For instance, unscrupulous businesses buy subsidised cooking oil and then sell it to neighbouring countries for a profit.
Such acts are hard to control, resulting in subsidy leakages.
The government should instead implement a monthly cash aid scheme for target groups. Again, it has to carefully plan this process and consult the public before implementing the new cash aid scheme.
3. Require luxury car buyers to purchase a certificate
Like in Singapore, the Malaysian government should require those who want to buy a luxury car to first purchase a “certificate of entitlement” from the government. This will help the government raise more funds.
In Singapore, the certificate allows the buyer to register and drive a car. It is valid for 10 years, after which it has to be renewed. To register a car, the buyer has to bid for a certificate. Successful bidders will have to pay the final “quota premium” for the particular vehicle.
The Malaysian government should impose a similar system here and target it at those who want to buy luxury cars.
This move will help the government raise much-needed funds from the sales of the certificates.
The current dire socioeconomic conditions have burdened many ordinary people in Malaysia. So the government needs to take immediate effective steps to reduce the wastage of funds and raise more money to improve the people’s quality of life.
Raveen Jeyakumar, an Ipoh-based Aliran volunteer, is a writer who is passionate about social and environmental issues. His work can be found at reform-the-system.com