KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan today told PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to make up his mind about the subsidy issue and policies to tackle inflation.
“For weeks you complain about subsidies being insufficient. In fact, on June 27 you asked for even more subsidies. You instigated people to go to streets and express dissatisfaction precisely about subsidies.
“Now when the government shows that our subsidies are the largest ever and have stemmed potentially even higher inflation like in the rest of world, you say 'why rely on subsidies?'
“Just yesterday he repeated promises of reducing petrol prices. What mechanism is he going to use if not even larger subsidies?” Shahril said.
Shahril’s remarks come after the Port Dickson MP said in Parliament today that the Umno-led administration’s response to inflation was insufficient, calling for structural reforms.
“Based on today’s remarks, if he was prime minister, we wouldn’t have subsidies? We would rely on ‘structural reforms’ to manage inflation? Tell me which structural reform done today can solve the problem tomorrow and would have kept inflation at under 3 per cent?”
“What’s your great idea to stem currency depreciation? You want Bank Negara Malaysia to follow other central banks and raise interest rates super high to keep in line with the US Feds? The dollar is strengthening globally. What is Pakatan Harapan’s plan to slow the depreciation? If not interest rates then what? Peg like Mahathir? Use up our foreign reserves?” the Umno member said.
He said Pakatan Harapan should not talk about structural reform when in their 22 months of power all they did was roll back GST and and increased our dependency on petrodollars.
"Their structural reform is more like structural regression.
"BN has started structural reforms but we understand that to solve today's problems, both short and long term interventions are needed," he said.
To offset the price hike for essential goods, the government has spent more than RM77 billion in subsidies to keep inflation at a manageable rate of 2.8 per cent, one of the lowest inflation rates in the region.
The funding allocated for subsidies is more than double the original allocation of RM31 billion in 2020.