Malaysia expected to spend $2.5 billion on fuel and cooking oil subsidies this year: Finance Ministry

The announcement comes as Malaysia looks to boost public assistance measures amid fresh coronavirus lockdowns imposed this month.
The announcement comes as Malaysia looks to boost public assistance measures amid fresh coronavirus lockdowns imposed this month.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysia is expected to spend RM8 billion (S$2.58 billion) on fuel and cooking oil subsidies this year, more than double the RM3.78 billion originally allocated, the finance ministry said on Saturday (June 12).

The announcement comes as Malaysia looks to boost public assistance measures amid fresh coronavirus lockdowns imposed this month.

The costs of retail fuel and cooking oil subsidies were set to increase sharply due to a global rise in commodity prices, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said in a statement.

He said: "The government is prepared to bear the higher subsidy expenditure to preserve the people's welfare and business viability, especially for small traders." 

The government spent RM6.32 billion and RM2.16 billion in subsidies in 2019 and last year respectively, he said.

Last month, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced an additional US$9.7 billion (S$12.8 billion) stimulus package, ahead of the latest round of lockdowns.

Daily infections and deaths in the South-east Asian country rose to record levels last month, although cases have dipped in recent days.

On Saturday, Malaysia reported 5,793 new cases, bringing total infections to 652,204. Deaths totalled 3,768 as at Friday.