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Less than 24 hours, the Facebook group “1 Million Malaysian who are sick of the RM2.70/liter Petrol Price” had some 1,767 members. “But Malaysia is the net oil producer !!!!” Yes, lets waste it on destructive subsidies. “The country’s GDP should go up when the global oil prices go up.” And, so?

The main reason why the subsidies was slashed (note, petrol is still subsidized, something poorer Thailand just north of the border does not do) is because of its fiscal burden. So, oh my God, the government didn’t give new subsidies to offset completely the petrol hike. Just pause for a moment:

Yes, Malaysia is a net-exporter. Malaysia also have been facing severe budget deficits and mounting public debts. Its a bit daft to spend all the savings incurred by raising petrol and diesel prices 78 sen and RM1 respectively into fresh subsidies and tax cuts.

I drive, and privately mourn the loss of cheap petrol. But I’m not a self-absorb twit considering only my wallet. Yes, removal of subsidies is painful. It always is. It should have been eliminated in the early 90s when global petroleum prices were very low and the Malaysian economy was booming. Guess who was finance minister then? Anwar Ibrahim, apparently the next prime minister, who still toes the populist, pro-subsidies line.


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