Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Cost of living

I am beginning to understand the curse of the social and digital media.

It is really interesting how one tweet or one article by influential journalists, politician, Government leaders or media house can create a 'tsunami' and put the whole country into a panic, frenzy mode.

Let's take a look at toll first.

On 15 Dec 2013, The Star - Minister: Toll rate hike unavoidable.

I am not really sure whether Wahid had plans to remove toll subsidies in 2014. I doubt it after reading quotes on what he said.

He said the toll rate should have been revised in 2011, as stated in the concession agreement. “However, as the rate was maintained, the government had to fork out RM400mil in compensation from taxpayers’ money, which could have been used for other purposes. And now, it’s time (again) to fulfill the condition,”

He said it is time to fulfill the condition lah.

On 2 Jan 2014, NST - Fadillah: No directive on toll hikes

The government has yet to issue directives to expressway concession holders on the toll rate hike, said Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof. He said based on the concession agreements, some expressways were supposed to increase their toll rates this year, but the government had yet to issue directives to them. Instead, he said, the government was looking for ways to offset the impact on the people if toll rates were to increase, including setting up a special laboratory by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) to study the implications of a toll rate hike in 2014, he said in a statement.

If we read carefully these two gentlemen's comments, THERE WON'T BE ANY TOLL HIKES IN 2014!

Let me guide you to Budget 2014 - an official document by the Government of Malaysia tabled in Parliament in Oct 2013.

Step 1: Go to
Step 2: In the menu bar, move your mouse cursor to Bajet
Step 3: Click on Maklumat Bajet Kerajaan
Step 4: Click on Anggaran Perbelanjaan Persekutuan 2014
Step 5: Scroll down to B/P.27 Kementerian Kerja Raya
Step 6: Right click and download the file b27.pdf

If you look at Kementerian Kerja Raya's Budget allocation, page 364 Butiran 080100 Bayaran Pampasan Tol, the allocation for year 2014 is not zero. It is clearly stated as RM460.86 mil.

You mean to say PM tabled Budget 2014 in October 2013 only for it to be "reviewed and removed" immediately in January 2014?

Siapa reka cerita macam ni la? 

This goes to show how many people actually bother to go through the Budget details every year and how many people actually bother to question how much they can trust the articles published in blogs, newspapers, or e-media.

Of course, I have to admit, my crystal ball did not show me information beyond 2014. Maybe I should check with Professor Dumbledore.

Should we panic if Government decides to take the drastic action of removing subsidies in 2015? Of course there will be grouses when subsidies are removed. I am unhappy too, I spend RM12 per day on toll roads, almost RM500 per month on fuel at current rate. I don't even want to talk about how much I spend on food and how much I save a month.

Is this a Barisan Nasional problem? Can it be avoided?

After PM tabled the Budget 2014 in late October 2013, Moody's released a statement in November - Moody's changes outlook for Malaysia's A3 rating to positive from stable

Moody's Investors Service has today affirmed Malaysia's government bond and issuer ratings at A3. The outlook has been changed to positive from stable. The change in the outlook was driven by:

1) Improved prospects for fiscal consolidation and reform; and

2) Continued macroeconomic stability in the face of external headwinds.

If Government did not remove subsidies, I wonder what will happen to our ratings. What will Moody's, Fitch etc say? Don't forget ratings will affect not just the Government but cost of doing business as a whole in Malaysia. Akhirnya siapa kena teruk? Rakyat lah!

I am sure there are methods to tackle cost of living if subsidies are removed - such as toll, electricity and fuel. We should wait and see. This is a Government by the people and for the people.

Remember when some if not all of you complained about leakages and cronies benefiting from subsidies or Government money? 

When subsidy rationalization was done on fuel any others, didn't PM increase BR1M quantum and to more households?

I think PM wasn't joking or trying to buy time when trains carried these ads below. He was serious. Hey, the man doesn't talk much like the Kajang guy but doesn't mean he's not working or he doesn't care... 

Allow me to share with you some articles I found online after using Google with the keywords 'melbourne toll rates increased'.

On 3 Dec 2008: Melbourne tolls up 64 per cent
  • Toll prices on Melbourne’s CityLink Tollway have risen by 64 per cent in the nine years since it opened
  • The road will remain tolled until 2034

On 6 June 2013: Drivers face toll increase on CityLink and EastLink

On 10 Oct 2013: Airportlink tolls rise 20 per cent despite moderate increase in traffic levels

On 31 Dec 2013: Up and up go costs for 2014
  • changes are a result of the congestion levy – a tax on specified long-stay city car parking spaces – being increased by the state government
  • Public transport fares will also increase from January 1, and for the first time motorcyclists will have to pay to use CityLink.
  • The Essential Services Commission said water bills in some Melbourne households will increases more than $220 a year. Increases for Yarra Valley Water and South East Water customers will range from $167 to $222 a year.
On 1 Jan 2014: Tolls to increase on four Sydney motorways

Despite all these, Australia is still ...well ... Australia. In fact, many Malaysians are in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Annually many Malaysians go there for holiday, education, migration or business.

So, macam mana? Should we ask Pakatan Rakyat to setup political parties in Australia too? Shouldn't be a problem. We can call it the Australian Move. Outback Move pun boleh lah.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As you usual bro, your article is again well written.

The outsyed fellow is simply outside your class. His blogg.....simply for no brainers. Sometimes one wonder apa niat dia yang sebenar.

Keep writing bro.