(Adam: Oh no! Not that same story again, papa...I mean Pak Lah. YAWN!)
Everytime there is a price increase on anything the Malaysian raayat get the same tired old excuses from politicians and people whom they have voted to give the mandate to manage their lives in this country. In The Star March 1, 2006, Prime Minister Badawi was quoted as saying that the estimated RM4.4 billion in fuel subsidy saved will be spent to improve the public transportation system. Is it just me or has that been said so often it sounds like a broken record? Well, savings from reducing fuel subsidies go to improving public transportation system. Increases in power tariffs will be for improving something else and so on and so forth. But as we all know Malaysia's public transportation system is still a joke.
Like I've said before it isn't the price increase that I am personally pissed off about. It is the way it was announced and implemented. Sure, we all knew that a price hike was imminent. They'd hinted at it often enough that unless you're really stupid you would know that it was inevitable and prepared in your own ways to deal with it. But why does it always have to be increase first then talk about the plans to deal with repercussions? Why can't it be plan first, increase and then put mitigation plans into effect.
So the Prime Minister says the money saved will be used to improve public transportation. So? How is it going to be used? When? Who? Where? It’s not like they have spent time planning an efficient public transport system, estimated how much it will cost and then get the money from the lowering of the fuel subsidy. It’s almost like somebody came to the realisation that ooops! We can’t afford to pay all these subsidies anymore so let’s withdraw some of it and then tell everybody that we’re going to do something nice for them with the money saved. But of course, since we didn’t plan on what to do really. We’ll leave the money on paper and I am sure that sometime in the near future we’ll need a couple of submarines or a fleet of jet fighters. Or some highway will need repairing. Improving public transport? Oh yeah…forgot about that didn’t we? Hmmm…when can we make the next announcement about withdrawing some more fuel subsidies?
Alright. To be fair to my favourite Prime Minister I am sure that there were plans made to use the money from the subsidies to improve public transportation or whatever. Just for once I, as a voting, tax paying member of the raayat, would like to be told about what exactly those plans are. Not just that money will be spent. Can ah? Not much to ask is it?
And this morning when I read The Star I was really ‘too larn’ la (damn pissed off).
While we are all still reeling from the 30 sen increase in fuel prices and anticipating a total upheaval of our budgets, our Deputy Prime Minister in his infinite wisdom has seen it fit to ‘advise’ us on how to spend our money wisely! Change lifestyle, he said. Hullo, Mr. Deputy Prime Minister we know that already. We’re not stupid and we’re not your little children. Now, how about you telling us in some sensible detail what YOU plan to do with the extra money? When are you going to show us in action what has been promised? Najib said that one change in lifestyle which Malaysians had to make was to accept public transport. Accept? What the fuck does that mean? That we accept that the Malaysian public transportation system SUCKS? We accepted that already that's why we have cars that consume petrol that now costs 30 sen more. When was the last time he took public transport? Does he realise that LRT’s don’t connect? Does he know that there are not enough car parks at LRT stations so that commuters can leave their cars and train it to work? Does he know that most public transport is not disabled friendly? Does he know that KL is NOT a pedestrian friendly city?
Oh yes, did you read this bit in the Star article today? The DPM said, “Some ministers have told me that they use the light rail transit to go for functions.” Really? What’s Najib been smoking?
Actually, The Star today is full of tragically funny stories.
“Don’t Raise Fares” says the Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister to all commercial vehicles, public transport and lorry operators. Okay. So who's going to pay for the 30 sen increase in my fuel costs? No what the YB meant was don't increase unreasonably. Okay. Why didn't you do some homework and tell us exactly what we can raise when you announced the 30 sen hike? Would have made life easier for everyone, right? Of course, then you won't have chance to make press statement la. Too bad they didn't put your photo in the article la. Maybe save cost in printing lor.
Meanwhile, we’re also going to have to deal with KL taxi drivers and their sour faces and their “Tak mahu pegi sana. Jam la”, “Mahu pegi Puduraya dari Jalan Petaling ah? RM30.00 la. Takda meter.” And this time I won’t blame them.
On page N6 some big shot has called for a study on the impact of the fuel price increase. Another study. How many millions will that take out of the savings from reduced fuel subsidies? Dunno. Don’t care also. Must study what.
Apply for fleet card, transport operators urged wor. That story is on page N6. Apparently, they get a discount on diesel. But “HULLO” shouldn’t this have been put in place before the increase? While at it, what about the above mentioned taxi flers? Petrol and gas prices go up by 20% but their meter rate is still the same? So how to put smiles on taxi drivers faces for the tourists? Okay la, we shall think about increasing your meter rate but in the meantime you just continue fleecing tourists and pissing off locals lor. After all that is part of our Malaysian mystique ma.
Wait, a nightmarish thought just struck me. What if they lumped that proposed multi-billion Ringgit crooked bridge to nowhere under public transportation system? Oh NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay, okay....calm down now. What's the worse that can happen? Withdraw some more subsidy lor. Then how? Change your lifestyle la. You deaf ah?