Malaysia, hit by massive subsidy bill, will raise gasoline price by 40 percent

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia: A government minister says Malaysia will raise its gasoline prices 40 percent.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Shahrir Abdul Samad says the government will also give a yearly cash rebate to owners of small and medium sized cars to offset their burden from the huge hike.

Subsidies have kept price of fuel in Malaysia among the lowest in Southeast Asia. But the government says it cannot afford to fund the subsidies any longer.

Shahrir told reporters Wednesday that the price of gasoline will go up from 1.92 ringgit (US$0.61) a liter to 2.70 ringgit (US$0.87) a liter.

He indicated that the price hike will be nearly immediate, and that further increases were planned.

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