Najib: No rebates if you don’t appreciate themPosted: August 23, 2008
PEKAN: The Government might consider not issuing any rebates in the future if the people continued not to appreciate the initiatives taken to help reduce their financial burden due to high oil and food prices, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“The rebate, if translated, will cost between 35 sen and 40 sen a litre. If the people do not appreciate the rebates, it is better for us not issue any more in the future.
“It is better for us to transfer the allocation for the rebate to reduce the fuel price,” he told reporters after visiting an education and career exhibition here on Saturday.
Full article on the StarOnline HERE.
To be fair. Yes. We should appreciate that the government DID give out fuel rebates.
Now, why did they have to give out fuel rebates again? I believe it was because they raised the fuel price by 78 cents per litre.
Okay, now. Let’s look at it this way. I believe that the price of fuel that we buy from the pumps should reflect what the world market is like. And I also believe that in today’s world, we cannot afford to have highly subsidised fuel. Cheap fuel encourages waste, and increases its depletion rate.
But hey, those are my belief systems. You’re entitled to your own.
But I also think the sudden hike of 78 sen was too over-the-top. Why? Because fuel, whether we like it or not, is so closely related to everything else in our lives, that a hike in fuel price will see a considerable rise in price in everything else.
We buy our groceries from the supermarkets. But hey, the stuff we buy off the shelves don’t just appear there. They need to GET there. And how does it get there? Transport. We buy vegies from the markets. They didn’t just appear in the cities. They came from the farms in the outskirts and rural areas. How did they get to KL? Transport. We build houses, out of bricks and concrete and steel bars. The materials didn’t GROW on the site. They needed to get there from the factories and the manufacturers. How did they get there? Transport.
And the price of transport, as we all know, is directly proportional to the price of fuel. Fuel price goes up, transport price goes up. Not just how much we spend on our own private transport on our own private vehicles. These other people who make a living out of sending and transporting vegies and canned food and raw material to sites and restaurants and shops also spend more on fuel.
How about the machines in the paddy fields up in Kedah. What do they run on? Diesel would be my guess. Diesel price goes up, and what happens? Price of beras goes up.
How about the boats that go out fishing up in Kelantan and Terengganu. What do they run on? Diesel would be the answer. Diesel price goes up, and what happens? Price of fish goes up.
What this tells us is that it is a snowball effect. Now, I don’t take economics. If I’m wrong, and some economist, or someone who knows just as much, can tell me what it really is, I would gladly write up an apology.
But what this tells me is that fuel price increase doesn’t just affect those who drive cars and motorbikes and lorries and vans and what have you. It has a drastic effect on every inch of our society. Because with fuel price increase, everything else goes in the same direction: UP.
Back to what Najib said.
He says that if we don’t know how to appreciate the measures that the government is taking to help alleviate our problems in facing the inflation, then he’s just not going to do it anymore. Period.
I personally have an issue with what Najib said. Because I don’t believe that the fuel rebate is in any way a measure to alleviate the problem. Temporary band-aid is the best I can give it.
Sure, it helps with the pain a little. For the ones who have cars and motorbikes.
What about the ones who drive lorries to transport stuff? What are they getting?
What about those who DON’T own private vehicles. What are they getting?
Now, Najib says that the problem with putting back the money into subsidising the fuel price is that everyone else, no matter whether you’re driving a Kancil or a Jaguar, will still get the subsidised fuel.
But the way I see it is this. If the cash rebates are given to cars that are of 2500cc and below, what’s stopping the “rich” people from ditching their Jags and Porches, and getting one of those Toyotas or Hondas or Mercs that have exactly 2500cc? Ain’t the cash rebate reaching those people as well?
And when we talk about wanting the subsidy to reach the low-income group, the government has to be sensible about it. How many of the people who fall in the low-income group can even afford to BUY a car, much less qualify for the cash rebate?
I think the cash rebate was a cool idea. But that’s all it is. It’s a cool idea, and one that works as well as a band-aid. It covers the wound, and makes you forget about it. But the wound is still there. And sometimes if the Band-Aid stays for too long without taking it off to check it, it gets infested with all sorts of bacteria that could cause pus, and more infection. And will take an even longer time to heal. We all know that.
Serious, and I mean serious, measures will have to be taken if the government is in any way serious about wanting to alleviate the poor and those living in poverty. When we say poverty, we mean people who don’t have cars and don’t get no cash rebate whatsoever. They don’t even pay tax nor qualify for tax rebates, because they don’t earn enough to qualify to pay taxes.
And just one more thing. Najib is no newbie in politics, and the government. He’s the goddamn Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. He should know that the civil society, and that is us, will always have something that we’re not happy about with the government, or whoever is in power. They cannot seriously expect gratitude for doing things to help reduce our financial burden, because that’s what the government is for. We elect them into office, so that they can manage the resources that WE churn out, and make our lives livable.
Forget about gratitude and appreciation when our resources aren’t managed well.