KUALA LUMPUR: The unity government remains committed to carryign out various initiatives and programmes for the welfare and well-being of the people despite being burdened by debts and the huge cost involved in administrating the country, says Rafizi Ramli.
The Economy Minister said the government has limited reserves since its revenue is only around RM300bil a year while the government would need to spend a huge sum for giving out subsidies, administrative costs and to pay interest on debts.
“The government allocates RM80bil for subsidies, interest paid on debt amounts to about RM30bil, and when we add wages, remuneration for civil servants, rental of buildings, the amount runs into another few hundred billion.
“At the end of the day, there is no money in the coffers to do more,” he said when speaking at the Madani Tour held in Sungai Tua, here Sunday (July 30).
Rafizi said due to the predicament, the government is not able to provide additional subsidies for fuel prices because other programmes and initiatives need to be carried out for the benefit of the people.
“If we want to reduce fuel prices, we need to look at a price that is lower than the current price of RM2.05 per litre. In the current situation, crude oil price in the market is US$80 (RM364) a barrel.
“The government provides a subsidy of RM1 per litre to maintain the price at RM2.05 per litre,” he said.
Speaking of the Opposition’s rhetoric of playing up calls to reduce fuel prices, Rafizi said the government does not want to take a populist approach but rather remained focused on the welfare of the people, providing better facilities and infrastructure as well as offering better salaries for civil servants.
“To win the state elections would not be difficult. I and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim can entice the people by reducing fuel prices by another 20sen, so that everyone will vote for us.
“However, that would mean the salary of teachers will be reduced, housing projects for the poor will not take off, issues of water supply like in Kelantan would not be solved and the government might not be able to assist our children who enter universities to further their studies,” said Rafizi who is also the PKR deputy president.