GHL says fuel subsidy scheme ‘ongoing’, mum over alleged glitch

By Emmanuel Samarathisa

GHL Systems Bhd has neither denied nor confirmed a report alleging that the payment services provider ran into a snag in implementing the targetted fuel subsidy scheme for middle-income Malaysians (M40) earning RM4,000 and below.

“We don’t want to comment on the article,” GHL group chief executive officer Danny Leong tells FocusM. 

News portal The Malaysian Insight, citing sources, reported on Jan 10 that the government postponed the rollout of its M40 fuel subsidy due to delays, mainly over the lack of a registry of M40 recipients. 

Such “loose ends” put GHL, the contractor, in a tight spot. Despite being chosen for the job in March last year, the group had yet to work on the scheme, the source was quoted as saying. 

On March 28, GHL filed a note to Bursa Malaysia that its wholly-owned subsidiary, GHL Transact Sdn Bhd, had been awarded the project through a request for proposal (RFP) by the Ministry of Finance to work on an end-to-end solution for the RON95 fuel subsidy. The contract is worth RM25.03 mil. 

Leong, who labelled the TMI report “a bit outdated and quoting unnamed sources”, stressed that the project was “ongoing” and his group is working on implementing the scheme according to government directions. 

But “we are unable to comment on the timeline as we do not wish to preempt any government announcements”, he says.  

GHL, which has a market capitalisation of RM1.19 bil as at Jan 10, specialises in financial technology, ranging from data capture terminals to card payment systems to e-payment services. 

The government last year announced that it would push out two petrol subsidy programmes targetting low-income (B4) and M40 households. 

Two ministries were tasked to separately oversee this. The first, targetting the B40, came under the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry which would rely on the database of Bantuan Sara Hidup cash handout beneficiaries. 

The second programme, covering the lower end of the M40 group, would be completed by the Ministry of Finance (MoF). Under this scheme, recipients would receive a K95 card that will entitle them to a subsidy of 30 sen per litre of RON95. But this came with a monthly cap of 100 litres for cars and 40 litres for motorcycles. 

Both schemes only allow for cars with a 1,600cc engine capacity or one that is more than 10 years old with an engine capacity of 1,600cc and above. For motorcycles, only those with a 150cc engine and below or more than seven years old with a 150cc and above were eligible.

The B40 and M40 programmes were supposed to be launched on Jan 1 this year. But two days before the deadline, on Dec 30, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said in a statement that the plan had been suspended indefinitely. 

The government required more time to educate the public on the scheme, he added. Saifuddin said on Jan 12 the M40 fuel subsidy programme would be open for registration in the second quarter of this year. 

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