KUALA LUMPUR: The BUDI MADANI programme - offering RM200 in monthly aid to eligible diesel users - which began yesterday, has provided much-needed relief for private vehicle owners including farmers and smallholders, amid rising fuel costs.

Despite the diesel price being set at RM3.35 per litre, 33 types of public transport and goods vehicles will continue to enjoy subsidised diesel through the use of a ‘fleet card’ under the Subsidised Diesel Control System (SKDS).

Current affairs observer Noor Mohamad Shakil Hameed praised the government’s approach as a strategic move to ensure subsidies were effectively directed to target groups, thereby addressing leakages.

“Data from simulations comparing blanket subsidies to targeted subsidies show that vulnerable and low-income groups can indeed save on their monthly expenses.

“What’s crucial is that those receiving these subsidies understand the overall benefits. Using the targeted subsidy wisely and managing daily living costs prudently can help increase their cash in hand,“ he told Bernama today.

Noor Mohamad, who is also the Deputy Registrar at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), emphasised that the government’s initiative could immediately curb diesel leakages, and urged all parties to support this bold move to safeguard national funds.

“This issue deeply concerns the public, especially when some parties exploit it to spread misinformation and incite fear and anger against the government. Such actions are irresponsible,“ he said.

He also expressed hope that the government would implement stringent monitoring and enforcement measures and control the ceiling prices of essential goods to prevent exploitation following the diesel price hike.

For Mohamad Hidayatullah Mustafa, 33, a diesel vehicle user since 2022, the BUDI MADANI aid provided some relief in managing his monthly fuel expenses.

“After calculating my previous monthly diesel costs and factoring in the BUDI MADANI aid following the price increase, I found that I could save a bit on my diesel expenses. Thank you, PMX (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim), for considering the people’s welfare,“ he said.

Meanwhile, Johor Sand and Granite Lorry Operators’ Association president Chia Jee Onn hoped that tipper lorries would be classified as logistics vehicles to qualify for SKDS, thus ensuring operational costs remained stable and current service rates maintained.

“If tipper lorries do not receive the government subsidy, we will have to adjust transport rates, leading to a multiplied effect on the prices of goods,“ he said.

He suggested that the government re-evaluate and discuss the subsidy allocation with industry players to find the best solution.

On Sunday, Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan announced that the retail price of diesel at all pumps in Peninsular Malaysia would be set at the market price of RM3.35 per litre based on the Automatic Pricing Mechanism formula.

As part of this initiative, the government is implementing the BUDI MADANI programme to ensure subsidies are targeted at eligible recipients, reducing the financial burden on those in need by providing RM200 in monthly cash aid.

Registration for BUDI MADANI opened on May 28, with no closing date set for applications.