PUTRAJAYA: The government’s decision to implement targeted diesel subsidies is necessary to save the country, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Speaking at a monthly assembly with staff of the Prime Minister’s Department here today, Anwar said action must be taken even though it is recognised as an unpopular measure.

“Who wants this targeted subsidy? We must also know that whatever we do, we will be severely criticised with all sorts of slander and lies.

“In fact, we have said that all prime ministers before this had agreed on the targeted subsidy, but there was no political will to implement it because of the risks involved. However, to save the country, we have no choice,“ said Anwar, who is also Finance Minister.

Yesterday, the government announced that the price of diesel at all retail stations in Peninsular Malaysia is set at RM3.35 per litre starting from 12.01 am today.

Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan, when announcing the matter, said it is the market price without subsidy based on the average for May 2024 according to the Automatic Pricing Mechanism formula.

He said the implementation of the diesel price float and targeted subsidies could provide savings of RM4 billion annually and strengthen the country’s financial position in the long term.

Amir said the move is to ensure that diesel subsidies benefit only those eligible and to stop leakages which have resulted in a loss for the people and the country.

However, the subsidy rationalisation does not affect consumers in Sabah and Sarawak.