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Your say: Bummer of a fuel hike
Published:  Jun 4, 2008 12:59 AM
Updated: 12:04 PM

vox populi big thumbnail ‘Previously when the government did reduce the subsidies, they promised to make public transportation better. A year later, traffic conditions are getting worse.’

On Pump price at 'market levels by August'

MZH: Previously when the government did reduce the subsidies, they promised they will use the retained income to make public transportation better. A year after, traffic conditions are getting worse, commuters are still getting sardine-packed KTM Komuter and LRT coaches, and the subsidy to RapidKL is being retracted. And traffic jams occur even on highways with toll collections!

All along, when the worldwide gasoline price were high, what happened to all the net inflows gained from our oil sales? No matter what the price at the pump is compared to real market prices, Malaysia as a net exporter of oil has been benefiting a lot from the increase in world oil prices. Yet, I wonder whether this money has been spent by the government in easing the public transportation burden of the rakyat .

Oh, not to mention the excessive excise and road taxes slapped on a basic transportation necessity (car) for a poor Joe with five kids to be properly seated and buckled-up. Oh yes, the government can retract the fuel subsidy so that consumption will truly reflect market conditions but with the ridiculous import taxes for imported vehicles, the never-ending toll hikes, the high road taxes just for a decent engine capacity and the lack of Euro4 diesel offering, I can say the government is guilty of misappropriation of taxpayers’ money.

Concerned Salary Earner: If the government wants to remove the subsidy totally by August to reflect actual market prices, then the government must also consider other elements and factors so as to ensure that there are no more controls in other areas. To consider the other elements and factors, we will need to make a comparison with as many countries as possible:

Do other developed countries have road taxes? I suggest that we compile a long list of countries to arrive at a realistic conclusion. We should not compare with economies that are less developed than us. We only want to progress instead of going backwards.

Do we have a good public transport system such as in the developed countries where it is not a necessity to own cars? Do other developed countries pay toll excessively like what we do here? What about the salary structure? Do we have an equitable salary structure to brace for this impact?

I have two cars for our family use and will have to sell them at a huge loss but yet cannot afford to do so since our public transport system is not efficient. I suggest that the government put this in place first before implementing market price for petrol.

Lemon: What is the point to work so hard on reducing the subsidy when our PM, DPM and gang are travelling all over the word with their expenses paid by us? If they just travel by ordinary first class instead of buying or using a jet solely for themselves, we need not be subject to so much of undue stress. The Malaysian government seems to be getting their priorities all wrong. Do it for the leaders firsts.

They should really learn how to live a normal life before teaching the rakyat to ‘change our lifestyle’. Can I make a plea to you Mr PM? My son can no longer study using a candle, we can’t live in the woods. So why not you change your lifestyle first? It’s just a case of a crab teaching it young to walk straight.

Dian Abdullah: Come August 2008, the people will be burdened with the increase in fuel prices. The cost of living will spiral. Malaysia, one of the richest countries in South East Asia with an abundance of resources and minerals and that was once the envy of Singapore, has been raped and bruised by Mahathir and Pak Lah. These two leaders do not think of the citizens, instead they scheme at every opportunity to enrich themselves.

The people of Malaysia are not interested in who will kick whose butt come September 2008 or December 2008. The people will support the one who will care for their welfare. The most important areas are our food and medical bills.

The Australian government provides the best medical treatment free to its citizens and the doctors have commitment towards their jobs. There is absolutely no excuse by our government not to do the same.

Another big woe is the illegal immigrants brought in by family members of the ruling government. They take away our jobs and consume food meant for us, the citizens of this country. This government is committing the biggest crime of the century.

Thanneermalai Lakshmanan: Now that the oil and food prices have skyrocketed, governments all over the world are scrambling to contain inflation and appease their people. Attempts to remove subsidies have resulted in riots like Indonesia, while here too, the government is faced with a whopping RM40-50 billion subsidy bill.

What everyone has realised is that there’s no easy solution to this. The unintended consequences of subsidies as implemented in Malaysia is that they help both the rich (who don’t need it) and the poor. Subsidies also contribute to inefficient usage and wastage.

The ideal situation would be to remove subsidies altogether. How do we go about it? One solution that works, but is hard work, is as follows:

Identify all Malaysians (by families) earning below a certain income eg. RM2,000 per month per family. Ensure all these families have a bank account – for those that don’t, a bank account must be created by the relevant government agency. Announce the removal of all subsidies for fuel and food.

The government tops up a fixed amount eg. RM300 for each of these families on a monthly basis in lieu of subsidy. How these families spend this ‘subsidy’ is at their discretion, and they are responsible for their decisions.

This way, there won’t be any smuggling as market prices prevail. There won’t be foreigners stocking up on subsidised products and it ensures less wastage of fuel or food besides increasing efficient use of finite resources. However, he implementation must ensure all deserving families benefit and that there’s no abuse of this system.

Chong Yu-nam: I hope a portion of the withdrawn subsidies will be channeled to improving our public transportation system to reduce our dependence on cars and petrol. This is another mega-project just waiting to happen.