Transportation woes

I just re-watched the fuel debate. For those who missed it, it’s posted on Anwar’s blog HERE. Anil Netto has a more concise written version of the debate, touching on the main points.

One question from Anwar’s representative to Shabery Cheek was this:

In 2006, the government raised fuel price by 30 cents, and from the price hike, the government managed to save 4.3 billion ringgit. Recently in Parliament, as an answer to a question, the government said that the amount of money used to inprove transport infrastructure since 2006 has only amounted up to about 900 million ringgit. Why did this happen?

If it is so difficult to improve infrastructure with 4.3 billion, as only 900 million was used, and no real change can be seen, then with the savings this time around amounting to around 13 billion ringgit, what is going to happen?

As I’ve said, Shabery Cheek dodged this question totally. He didn’t even ONCE mention the word ‘transport’.

Before this, I have to say that I was unaware that there was that much of a difference between the money saved, and the money used to improve infrastructure, as promised.

Shabery did touch on the rising fuel price, meaning that with a higher global fuel price, the govt has to fork out more money on subsidies. Unless I’ve got this terribly wrong, this is what I have concluded.

But at that time, when the price was raised by 30 cents, surely the projected savings of RM4.3B would have been an annual saving? Meaning that IF the global fuel price had not increased, that RM4.3B would have doubled by 2008. Fuel price has doubled since then, so let’s assume that total savings since the fuel price hike in 2006 was only RM4B.

But to use not even a quarter of those savings on improving public transport. Isn’t that too much? Even if they could have used HALF of that, meaning RM2B, would have been better than just RM900M. Surely the effects of that much more improvement would have been a major welcome for the rakyat during this round of petrol price hike.

IF transportation infrastructure had been improved as was supposed to happen two years ago, then maybe it would have been slightly easier on the people today. As it is, everything else is more expensive. People tend to save wherever they can. But saving on petrol is quite obviously not one of those ways, because there simply isn’t an alternative for most.

But what has been done cannot be undone. What the government needs to take note of TODAY is that our public transport system just isn’t working all that well. Maybe moving around in the heart of the city is still fine, but once in the outskirts, it’s not difficult to be stranded in the middle of nowhere. And I seriously don’t think taxis are in any way, a form of public transport.

I think it was unwise of Shabery to leave this important issue hanging like this, although it might have been SLIGHTLY out of topic. People were already suspicious of whether the government was really using the money they saved on improving our transport system. Now with this question asked in a public debate, and no real answers to it, I think it has casted a darker shadow on this issue of improving infrastructure.

It may sound like a broken record, but the government cannot ignore this. Something must be done to improve our transportation system. Fuel prices cannot remain low forever, that is my belief. As and when they go up again, a good and efficient transportation system WILL help ease some of the problems we face.


One Comment on “Transportation woes”

  1. warrior2 says:

    Let me try to give my views. Ofcourse the Govt said there will be savings but that saving evaporated because crude price kept going up since that decision and the govt had to use that saving to fund the subsidy.

    It is a valid point if the price of crude remain stagnant and we can blame the govt for not spending the 4 billion savings.

    We must also remember that infra works requires planning and implementaion and it takes time. One cant simply spend the money in months.The 800 million spent was for those work that was able to be carried out before the subsidy money eveporated because of the above.

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