Picture from the borneo post
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim recently addressed the unique circumstances that led to Sabah and Sarawak being exempted from the recent diesel subsidy rationalisation. Highlighting the extensive reliance on diesel in these regions, Anwar explained that reducing subsidies was impractical compared to Peninsular Malaysia, where diesel usage is less pervasive.

Acknowledging Regional Differences

Anwar invited Members of Parliament from Peninsular Malaysia to visit Sabah and Sarawak to grasp the unique conditions that necessitate different subsidy policies. "I urge them to visit Sabah and Sarawak to understand the differing conditions. We are one country; representatives from all states must understand the diverse needs across our nation," he stated during the state-level Gawai Dayak gala dinner at Borneo Convention Centre.

He emphasized that these decisions were made based on understanding regional circumstances rather than yielding to demands or pressure. "In fact, I did not even have the chance to discuss this with Premier Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg," Anwar added.

Impact of Diesel Subsidy Rationalisation

While Peninsular Malaysia has implemented the rationalisation of diesel subsidies, Anwar assured that key groups such as school bus operators, fishermen, farmers, and small business operators were not adversely affected. This policy adjustment has reportedly saved the government RM4.5 billion.

Anwar criticized the previous blanket subsidy approach for inadvertently benefiting the wealthy and foreign nationals. He stressed that subsidies should be directed toward the B40 and M40 groups, which comprise 85 percent of Malaysians. "Imagine, more than 3.5 million foreigners who don’t pay taxes or sometimes lack permits are receiving these subsidies. This approach does not reflect prudence in managing our economy," he said. "The top earners do not need subsidies."

Political Stability and Inclusive Governance

In his speech, Anwar also touched on the importance of political stability and inclusive governance. He supported Premier Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg's focus on maintaining political strength and leadership that consider local, ethnic, and national interests.

"Focusing solely on ethnic interests while ignoring others’ needs will lead to tensions. In Peninsular Malaysia, we struggle with identity politics and divisive ethnic and religious issues. Embracing cultural diversity with empathy and respect is crucial for unity," he noted.

Malaysia Madani: A Vision for Respect and Compassion

Anwar reiterated the significance of respect and compassion within the framework of Malaysia Madani. "Respect is foundational in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. This is not just political rhetoric but a national policy," he stated. He emphasized that upholding principles of respect and compassion is essential for the nation to thrive and lead. "Respecting our differences, other cultures, and every citizen’s right to their faith will enable us to emerge as a great nation," he concluded.

Source: The Borneo Post

Anwar: Sabah, Sarawak exempted from subsidy rationalisation due to regions’ heavy reliance on diesel