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Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told the Malaysian Handball Federation on July 7, 2013 to suspend all those involved in the alleged gang rape of the Sukma games official. — Picture by Arif Kartono Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told the Malaysian Handball Federation on July 7, 2013 to suspend all those involved in the alleged gang rape of the Sukma games official. — Picture by Arif Kartono KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — Echoing PKR's Rafizi Ramli today, Umno Youth pressed the Najib administration to slash corporate subsidies following its decision to raise the prices of fuel at the pumps.

The Malay party's wing chief Khairy Jamaluddin said all sectors, including the federal government, should help shoulder the burden of the subsidy cut that would otherwise fall on consumers.

He suggested Putrajaya start by cutting the financial endowment granted to the corporate sector, which according to Pandan MP Rafizi is worth a staggering RM13 billion a year.

"We also want the government to revise the subsidies given to big companies, like gas subsidies for instance.

"We believe the subsidy rationalisation programme must be shared by all parties and not only (cut) subsidies meant for the public," Khairy, who is also a member of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's Cabinet, told reporters after chairing his wing's executive committee meeting here.

The suggestion was one of several key requests made to Putrajaya following its decision to hike the price of the widely used RON95 and diesel prices to 20 sen a litre.

The announcement on Tuesday drew expected flak from the opposition and consumers, with Pandan MP Rafizi leading the barrage of criticism against the government with his denouncement that the fuel price hike was due to the Najib administration's weak financial management.

The PKR strategy chief insisted the subsidy rationalisation exercise could have been avoided if genuine fiscal reforms had been carried out.

Rafizi also questioned why Najib chose not to do away with hefty subsidies given to private companies such as independent power producers, which is estimated to be around RM13 billion, and instead “took the easy way out” by slashing public fuel subsidies.

As part of the opposition's protest agains the move, Rafizi then suggested that all Cabinet members, including Najib, pay for their own fuel since the government claimed underserving parties were enjoying the benefits of a blanket subsidy that it reduced.

Analysts said the subsidy rationalisation would push inflation up to 2.3 to 2.4 per cent, the highest since the 1998 financial crisis.

In a nod to the brickbats, Khairy admitted that the higher fuel prices would impact those from the middle and lower income group.

The youth and sports minister urged the government to heed Rafizi's proposal and suggested that Putrajaya sets the example by trimming its spending.

"We want the government to share the burden of trimming the fiscal deficit. While we are asking the people to bear the brunt of the subsidy cut, the government must also prove (that it will share the burden) through prudence and also by avoiding leakages.

"That is one suggestion but we are looking at an overall solution to the problem... I myself have instructed my ministry to save up," Khairy said.

The Umno man also called on the government to draw up measures to tackle inflation in Budget 2014, including curbing attempts to hike prices of basic goods and tax exemptions.

On Tuesday, Najib who is both prime minister and finance minister, had announced the the government's slash of fuel subsidies, causing the pump prices for RON95 petrol and diesel to jump up by 20 sen a litre.

Aiming to tackle the country's chronic budget deficit, Najib said the 20 sen per litre would save the government RM3.3 billion beginning next year, bringing the total amount of fuel subsidies to RM24.8 billion per annum.

Anticipating a public backlash, he also announced the government may raise the amount of the 1 Malaysia People's Cash Aid (BR1M) from the current RM500 in its proposed Budget 2014.

Following the government's upward revision of the RON95 petrol and diesel prices, the Petrol Dealers Association of Malaysia (PDAM) also moved to hike the pump price for the RON97 gasoline by 15 sen to RM2.85 a litre from midnight.

Analysts said the subsidy rationalisation would push inflation up to 2.3 to 2.4 per cent, the highest since the 1998 financial crisis.