What’s the common element of MRT, LRT, BRT, ‘Keretapi’ and Petrol Subsidy? On Friday, my colleague expressed relief that GST was not imposed on Ron 95 petrol. I told him, that’s not the main point because petrol subsidy continuation was not a correct decision. It was a historical decision which will take time to take out. Perhaps when it was first given, we needed it. Today, we needed to ensure it’s given to the rightful and needy and not just everybody. Every time petrol prices are up, I hear people grumble. However, have you ever noticed that that sales of cars which are larger CCs are increasing every year? If I remember correctly, the sales of premium cars are increasing by double digit growth every year. Oh yeah, the difference in consumption for a 2.0 litre car vs a 1.0 litre car is only about 3 times….. In other words, the bigger your car, the more subsidy you get. If I can afford the 2.0 litre car, I better be able to pay for the petrol. Otherwise, stop trying to show off. Just drive what you can afford.
The typical answer when you ask, ‘why not public transport?’. Oh, it’s not convenient enough. I stay too far, I needed to take a bus first before the LRT. Therefore, I needed to wake up much earlier. During peak hours, it’s impossible to get into a train. It’s just too full! If only we are like Singapore, it’s so convenient and the people do not have to drive a car. Truth is, They say, if you want, you will put effort but if you do not want, then you will give excuses instead. (Malay proverb). Even in Singapore, do you seriously think during peak hours, it is easy to get into the MRT train? Do you seriously believe that all Singaporeans LOVE to take MRT instead of having their own car if they can afford it?
Real example. Do you think a typical family of 4 would prefer MRT versus driving a car when they are going out for shopping or dining? Father carries baby stroller on his right, groceries bags on his left while the mother carries baby on her right and holding her 3 year old son on her left? The baby backpack is carried by either one of them? Oh yeah, and climbing up the staircases here and there? How about the typical family of four includes two elderly instead? Get real. It’s the same world. However, MRT gives them an option to still do things they want to do. So, MRT in Malaysia basically serves the same purpose.
Cars can always be an additional option for Malaysians. Something which smaller countries would never have. However, it can be used more sparingly compared to now. It can be used for longer journeys where you want to stop ANYTIME you want, along the way for great food and sights. No public transport can give us this. It can give you real convenience especially during emergencies and even just to get your favourite chilli sauce from the store 5 minutes away. It can allow you to send your mother to the hospital for her medical check up and you can stop at the lobby so that she does not need to walk a few hundred metres to catch a bus. Yes, all these can continue to be something we can enjoy. However, it should not be a burden to the nation because if you look at all the international rating agencies. Fuel subsidy bill is one very important point as to whether they downgrade or upgrade us. Question is just when and how. It’s no longer a IF.
written on 12 Oct 2014
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