Friday, July 23, 2010

Subsidy Rationalisation Gets Various Reaction

July 16, 2010 00:55 AM

KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 (Bernama)-- The subsidy rationalisation for several items such as sugar and fuel which was announced Thursday was welcomed by several non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The president of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) Dr David Quek said the reduction in the sugar subsidy by 25 sen per kilo would give a positive effect to the people's health with the ensuing reduction in sugar consumption.

"There has been a significant increase in the number of diabetic patients. A study in 2006 found that between 14 and 15 per cent of Malaysians suffer from diabetes compared with seven to eight per cent 10 years ago," he said when contacted.

He said the increase clearly showed the declining state of health and that the people were less concerned about health care.

"As such, we support this increase for the sake of public health, and we hope the people can reduce sugar consumption," he said.

Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants Associations of Malaysia's president Lean Hing Chuan also expressed a similar sentiment like Dr David.

"When the government increases the price of sugar, people will consume less sugar and that will reduce diabetes cases," he said.

He added that despite the 25 sen 'adjustment' sugar price here is among the cheapest in the region compared with Thailand and Indonesia (RM3/kg) and Singapore (RM3.60/kg).

FOMCA president Datuk N. Marimuthu meanwhile, said the 5 sen increase for RON95 petrol would not really burden the consumers.

"We must welcome such initiatives if the money saved from subsidy is used for other beneficial purposes," he told Bernama when contacted here Thursday.

Marimuthu said Malaysians are still fortunate since petrol price in the country was still among the cheapest compared with India, Singapore, the Philippines or United Kingdom.

Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia (PPIM) executive secretary Datuk Paduka Nadzim Johan said a transparent subsidy system must be put in place to ensure only those who are eligible for such benefits.

"We do not agree if subsidies, especially for gas, enjoyed by the rich too," said Nadzim.

Nadzim said the people must not continue to depend on subsidies for basic essential items and start looking for alternatives.

"We (Malaysia) and Thailand are almost equal. But why can't we grow our own vegetables like cabbage, chili or others instead of importing such items from other countries," he said.


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