KUCHING: In a recent development, the issue of providing subsidies for Muslims from the T20 income group to perform the pilgrimage or hajj has come under scrutiny.
Senior lecturer Professor Dr Abu Sofian Yaacob from University Keusahawanan Koperasi Malaysia expressed his belief that it is fair to exclude the T20 group from receiving subsidies, given their financial capabilities.
Prof Abu Sofian emphasised that considering the current economic situation, where the cost of performing the pilgrimage continues to rise, it was more appropriate to allocate subsidies to individuals from the lower income groups, namely the B40 and M40 categories.
However, he acknowledged that certain exceptions may exist within the T20 group. “For instance, there are some people from the T20 groups who have numerous financial commitments and responsibilities that hinder their ability to afford the pilgrimage,” he said.
“On the other hand, there are some from the M40 groups who can afford to fund their own journey, so for me this is quite subjective,” he told New Sarawak Tribune recently.
Therefore, he suggested that a case-by-case basis should be employed to determine subsidy eligibility. Nevertheless, he maintained that, in general, subsidies should still be directed towards the B40 and M40 groups.
Similarly, Dr Dzul Hadzwan Husaini, senior lecturer of the Faculty of Economics and Business at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, advocated for targeted subsidies rather than indiscriminate ones.
“However, its implementation is challenging and costly, and in order to guarantee that the benefits are completely distributed to the poor, the government must have adequate information regarding the intended recipients.
Dzul Hadzwan believed that the government’s establishment of the Pangkalan Data Utama (PADU) initiative is a significant step toward transitioning from blanket subsidies to targeted ones.
“In my opinion, this reform will significantly cut wasteful government spending,” he stated.
Prime Minister Datuk Sri Anwar Ibrahim had earlier announced that the federal government would no longer provide subsidies to Muslims from the T20 income group for the purpose of performing the pilgrimage.
He emphasised the importance of targeted subsidies, highlighting that the T20 group, being financially capable, should bear the full cost of the pilgrimage themselves.