KUALA LUMPUR: The Government is urged to review the Petrol Subsidy Programme (PSP), by taking into account more alternative mechanisms such as creating a special petrol discount card.
Trader Ahmad Sudir Tahir, 45, said the discount card would mean that consumers can enjoy continuous savings that will directly help reduce the burden of fuel costs.
“For example, with the card, the government can set a discount of RM0.50 or RM0.20 per liter and that way, consumers can still enjoy lower prices even when oil prices increase. The card must be given to those who are really eligible, such as people from the B40 and the M40 groups,“ said the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) recipient to Bernama.
He, however, agreed that strict monitoring would be required to ensure that the privilege is not abused, especially by petrol smugglers.
Also sharing the same view, Firdaus Safawan Ismail, 37 said that the discount card mechanism would be more appropriate as the PSP is seen as a ‘one-off’ aid.
“The PSP offers RM20 and RM30 assistance which can only be used once after it was credited to the recipient’s account, but the discount card can be used many times,
The targeted subsidy scheme, which is set to take effect in early 2020, will only be given to car and motorcycle owners based in Peninsular Malaysia who are also recipients of the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH).
For cars, only those with 1,600cc engines and below or vehicles over 10 years old with engines larger than 1,600cc are eligible.
For motorcycle owners, the subsidy is only given to those with engines of 150cc and below, or seven-year-old bikes or more above 150cc.
Meanwhile, commenting on the proposal of the discount card, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Management of Universiti Putra Malaysia, Prof Dr Azali Mohamed said the mechanism needed to be studied further as it would involve the payment system at the petrol station.
“I see that using this discount card may complicate the payment system process as compared to cash payments via PSP.
“Companies and gas stations may have to resort to different payment systems for consumers with discount cards and regular consumers,“ he said when contacted by Bernama.
He said the government should be given the opportunity to implement the PSP and proposed that to improve the system, payouts might be made on a monthly basis rather than the original schedule of once every four months.
Meanwhile, economic analyst Prof Emeritus Dr Barjoyai Bardai said the discount card proposal was ideal and could be implemented using existing cards such as MyKad or a new e-wallet system.
“The government can add functionality to MyKad, but to set up a payment system may be costly. However, the PSP should be implemented and then gradually we will propose improvements,” he said. — Bernama