Surge in subsidy bill to feed cronies, says Anwar
UPDATED @ 05:04:53 PM 20-06-2012
KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — Putrajaya’s move to spend RM8 billion more for subsidies has led the opposition to accuse the government of using public funds to benefit cronies instead of the public.
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (picture) pointed out while debating the supplementary supply bill that the sum was nearly 40 per cent more than the original allocation in Budget 2012, specifically pointing to the increase in sugar and toll subsidies as “ensuring the profitability of crony companies.”
“I am certain in this case, the profit to the crony companies is excessive,” the opposition leader said of the RM343 million added to the initial RM446 million to subsidise tolls.
He also said that as Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary’s Tradewinds is one of two companies that control the local sugar market, the RM367 million added to the RM198 million allocated under Budget 2012 was not proportional to the actual increase in sugar prices.
“We want to know who actually benefits from these subsidies. They say it’s for the public. Show us what are the profits of these companies,” the Permatang Pauh MP said.
The opposition has previously questioned if the government is handing over the RM198 million allocated for sugar subsidies under Budget 2012 to politically-connected companies after nearly tripling sugar subsidies despite a dive in global prices over the second half of 2011.
DAP publicity chief Tony Pua had pointed out that after hitting a peak of US$29.47 (RM89.66) per hundred pounds in July 2011, the price of sugar has fallen every month to US$23.42 in December, a 20.5 per cent drop.
It has continued to fall this year to just over US$20 per hundred pounds this month.
Malayan Sugar Manufacturing Holdings, a 71 per cent subsidiary of Felda-related entities, and Tradewinds Corporation, 43 per cent controlled by logistics tycoon Syed Mokhtar, control the supply of refined sugar here.
Pakatan Rakyat has also repeatedly accused the Barisan Nasional government of signing lopsided toll concessions and channelling subsidised gas and coal to independent power producers who have long-term electricity supply contracts with Tenaga Nasional.