PM: “I will gladly flip-flop if it means the decisions will benefit the rakyat”

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he has no issues with “flip-flopping” on public policies if the decisions made will benefit the people.

This comes after the government’s decision to maintain subsidies for chicken and eggs and carry on providing Public Services Department (JPA) scholarships for students pursuing studies in medicine, dentistry and pharmacy.

He was responding to Tanjong Karang MP Datuk Dr Zulkafperi Hanapi who said the government’s U-turns on these decisions would damage the people’s confidence in the current government. Zulkafperi had also earlier accused the government of flip-flopping on the two issues.

In dismissing the accusation, Anwar clarified to the Dewan Rakyat that discontinuing the JPA scholarship was an old decision made by the previous administration.

Anwar said the unity government had made the decision to maintain the scholarship after chairing a special meeting with the department last week.

The Tambun MP further stressed that he had decided not to proceed with floating prices of chicken and eggs in the market from July 1 after considering the recommendation of the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry as well as the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry.

He added that this was also in view of the upcoming Hari Raya Haji celebration which is expected to fall on June 29.

“It’s not a flip-flop. The previous decision was based on existing processes. But I was asked to review it as it would burden the rakyat. And with Hari Raya Haji nearing, we (decided to) help the rakyat,” Anwar insisted.

“Even if there was a flip-flop to help the rakyat, I would flip-flop. What is the point of not flip-flopping when it burdens the rakyat?” Anwar said during the Prime Minister Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat today (June 13).

According to Anwar, who is also the Finance Minister, these two were not the first decisions made by the previous Perikatan Nasional (PN) cabinet that he had reversed.

For instance, he said the PN government had made the decision to increase electricity costs for the people, which he had later decided to change.

Several PN lawmakers had stood up to protest but Anwar insisted that there was a record in Parliament that the former government had made the announcement.

On June 9, Putrajaya had announced that it will continue subsidising chicken and egg production past June. Previously, it was reported that the chicken and egg subsidies will end on June 30.

As for the JPA scholarships, Anwar said the Public Service Department will continue offering scholarships for students pursuing medicine, dentistry and pharmacy despite the PSD previously announcing that this would be halted.

It was also previously reported that PSD had decided to stop sponsoring students pursuing studies in medicine, dentistry and pharmacy following the study by the Health Ministry pertaining to the oversupply of medical officers.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Duties) was reported to have said that the Health Indicators 2022 report showed a 1:420 doctor-to-population ratio in the country. A 1:400 ratio was expected to be achieved in 2025. – June 13, 2023

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