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As diesel shoots to RM3.35, can the subsidy programme succeed?

In other words, can someone who fails to do something simple succeed at something big?

Nehru Sathiamoorthy
3 minute read

I have always supported the targeted subsidy plan although I have little to no faith in the Madani government.

I strongly believe that unless we change our economic model from one based on exploitation to one that creates value, Malaysia will continue to go downhill.

All the problems we see in the country – corruption, racial and religious tension, the middle-income trap, brain drain, national debt, stagnant wages and the high number of foreign workers – are rooted in the fact that the Malaysian economic model is based on exploitation.

To free ourselves from our addiction to the exploitation-based economic model and restructure ourselves into a real, genuine and value-added economy, the success of the targeted subsidy programme will be a key factor.

With the first of the targeted subsidy programmes, the price of diesel at the pump will rise from RM2.15 to RM3.35 per litre.

It is reported that 30,000 eligible diesel vehicle owners will receive a RM200 subsidy to offset the diesel price increase.

If, and only if, the restructuring of the diesel subsidy programme is successful, the restructuring of the other subsidies – petrol, rice and sugar – will roll out.

If the subsidy restructuring programme is successful, I dare say that Anwar Ibrahim can indeed call himself "Bapa Reformasi Malaysia", while PKR and Pakatan Harapan will finally be able to claim a legacy to rival that of Umno and Barisan Nasional.

Until PKR and PH win a legacy for themselves, they can never be sure of their place in Malaysian politics.

The subsidy rationalisation programme is a great opportunity for Anwar and his government. No matter how much they have let the country down so far, if they succeed in pushing through this programme, they will not only be forgiven, they would also have secured an indelible legacy.

My problem with the whole subsidy restructuring programme lies in the fact that I have little to no faith in Anwar's government. The fact that it is Anwar who is steering the ship called Malaysia on this voyage gives me all sorts of dark forebodings about this whole endeavour.

This subsidy restructuring programme is a momentous affair, with great significance, many difficulties, powerful adversaries and immense dangers.

Should it fail and bring the economy to a standstill or be brought down by high inflation, it could lead to racial and religious conflict and even the disintegration of the federation.

Given the importance and difficulties of the endeavour, I can not help but sink my heart when I look at Anwar and his band of merry men and women.

As I look at them, I can’t help but wonder: can someone who fails at something simple create something great?

Can someone who can not lift 10kg be expected to lift 100kg?

Looking at the antics of Anwar and his Madani government in the last one and a half years, I am afraid to answer these questions.

But as the saying goes, “Never underestimate those who overestimate themselves”.

If one thing can be said about this government, it is that it is certainly not short of people who overestimate themselves.

With that in mind, I hope that in the near future I can happily admit that I was completely wrong and instead announce that Anwar and the Madani government have exceeded expectations.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.