KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Sunday he was reviewing the government’s subsidy program with a view to directing funds to low-income earners.
Agencies have two weeks to consider the impact of reducing subsidies, he said at a press conference.
Malaysia provides subsidies to all citizens, with fuel and cooking oil accounting for the largest expense. We also subsidize electricity, sugar and flour.
“Subsidies have to be targeted. said Anwar, who has emerged as the leader of the
For industries no longer benefiting from subsidies, other incentives will be considered, he said.
Mr. Anwar echoed the stance of his predecessor last month, who proposed a budget cut to cut subsidies, citing rising commodity costs and the impact on government coffers. Malaysia is estimated to spend a record RM77.7 billion ($17.4 billion) on subsidies this year.
Anwar said he would discuss cabinet appointments with his coalition partners in the coming days.
The 75-year-old took the oath on Thursday, capping a 30-year political journey from disciple of veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad to protest leader, convicted sodomy prisoner and opposition figurehead.
Investors have cheered his appointment and hoped Anwar would bring stability after years of political uncertainty in three prime ministerships.
The focus will be on the new government’s policy direction and ministerial appointments. Anwar said on Friday he would have a smaller cabinet than previous governments.