The Malaysian government has prepared 10 types of aid packages to help the people cope with the current and future rising costs of living, reported Bernama.

Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan on January 1 said the 10 aid packages include Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M), six types of basic subsidies, assistance to farmers, fishermen, oil palm workers and rubber tappers, reduction of income tax cuts, health subsidies, educational assistance, affordable housing projects, assistance to the poor, funds for the development of entrepreneurs as well as salary increases and bonuses for civil servants.

He did not deny that rationalisation of the budget made by the government in reducing the national deficit recently had caused prices of three types of items to rise namely oil, sugar and electricity.

These aid packages had been created to help people to increase income so as not to be burdened with rising costs in the future, he said.

"So what is being done is in the name of social safety net and the government is trying to increase the people's income in order to absorb the rising costs here and there,'' he said, affirming that 70 percent of users will not be affected by the increase in tariffs.

Ahmad explained the 400 million RM (around 122 million USD) savings made by the government through the sugar subsidy rationalisation had been used to improve the healthcare of people through additional nurses, new Malaysia clinics and rural clinics and a new hospital.

He added that the reduction in fuel subsidies has seen a saving of RM4.4 billion which will now go towards BR1M handouts.

In his New Year message, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak pledged to minimise the impact of the rising cost of living on the people. However, the PM said, rationalising subsidies of some essential items like oil and sugar, and rising prices of some other commodities were necessary, thus contributing to strengthen the country’s fiscal position.-VNA