Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Post 13GE Price Hikes and How Trustworthy are Political Leaders?

Not very trustworthy it seems.
Within weeks of getting the mandate of the 13GE, the BN regime has taken swift action to cut the much-debated federal deficit that threatens the national economy.

Let us look at some of the measures:
1. Sugar price has gone up from RM2.50 to RM2.80 a kg and this happened even though the commodity price has gone down. The reason? The government signed a long term contract to supply the monopoly that controls sugar distribution in Malaysia.
2. The tariff for electricity is going up even though TNB had a profitable year last year.
3. Toll rates are reported to be going up as one minister has claimed it is just part of the toll agreements signed with the different companies. malaysiakini has the story about Impending toll rates

It seems the second and third items will impact consumers the most, excluding the Prime Minister who will enjoy his RM2 million benefit on electricity charges at Putrajaya. Of course the executive jets will still be available to the favored few at RM400k per overseas flight.
Not forgetting the impending GST that is going to hit us all in the pocket.

I propose we should demand a new toll agreement scheme for both present and future toll companies.
The basic deal must include the following:

1. All toll agreements cannot be extended after the initial 20 or 25 years.
2. The government must take back all toll companies after the agreement expires.
3. At the end of the period, the government may re-tender the toll company and the new company may collect toll for maintenance and safety services; at a rate between 20 to 30% of the last toll.
4. All toll companies must publish their annual accounts in national newspapers and government websites. At present PLUS has been taken private so we will not know annual profits.

Any widening of expressway etc cannot be compensated by extending the toll period and must come out of profits.
All roads will be toll free unless toll companies guarantee that no motorist is delayed more than 10minutes during the four major festive seasons. The toll free period will be for three days for each festival - one day before, the festival day and one day after.
We must impose such KPIs on toll companies so motorists get a fairer deal.

Let's face it.
We have not held the government too accountable by giving them such a long mandate.
It is time we asked them to prove they really know how to manage the economy.