#GE13: Budget BN & PR.. Both Are GE13 Budget After All (Part 2)

Before I go any further on the other two thrusts, I would like to take a few steps back on one of the important element in Thrust 1 discussed in Part 1. No, not welfare payment of RM550, Senior Citizen Bonus of RM1,000 or Salary Adjustments for Civil Servants to Reflect Minimum Wage of RM1,100.

I am going to touch on the very reason my twitter account being blocked by Rafizi Ramli – reducing car price.

Pakatan Rakyat has announced a 5-point reform of the automotive industry with the intention to reduce car prices, as follows:

  1. Phased reduction of excise duty on cars within 5 years to reduce car prices and increase disposable income for the rakyat. Our reform also includes the revision and update of the Hire Purchase Act 1967 to better protect interest of the public and reflect current economic conditions
  2. The amount of excise duty reduction shall be announced annually during the tabling of the federal government budget after prior consultations with the industry (automotive manufacturers, car dealers, financial institutions and others) to avoid a severe drop in value of existing cars. The annual budget announcement shall also include incentives provided to the automotive sector to spur the growth of reconditioning and upgrading used car industry for exports
  3. Pakatan Rakyat will introduce open bidding system for APs to recoup the loss of government revenue from the phased reduction of excise duties. The reserved price for the APs will be set according to categories of vehicles meant to encourage the usage of more fuel efficient and greener cars in the country
  4. Pakatan Rakyat will shift the direction of the local automotive industry so as not to be too tied with the obsession to maintain certain legacies in order to protect jobs. We fully support any strategic tie ups between the local automotive industry with international manufacturers so long as it can create jobs and utilise the production capacities existing in the country
  5. The final objective of the policy is to reduce usage of private vehicles through the upgrading of public transportation system and the introduction of car scrap policy in the future.

Between all the points from 1 to 5, I am very much interested of how all can work out. Because:-

  1. There’s no indication on the basis of phased reduction of car excise duty. Will it be based on brand, car model or engine cc? This is important for current car owners. It is because that the phasing will also determine disposable car value. If before the phasing out, you can get residual value of RM3,000, but if you sell your car after phasing out, you will get RM1,000.. when do you think you are going to sell your car? Further to add, for second hand car dealer.. how much they are willing to take to pressure? In their stocks are car that has been bought from car owners at a price reasonably higher than before phased out price by PR. How much loss are they willing to take?
  2. It is good that excise duty reduction shall be announced annually during the tabling of the federal government budget after prior consultations with the industry. However, early reports have been not reasonably supported. For example – Edaran Tan Chong Motor has not agreed with the reduction. I am very much unsure, how many those in the industry has openly supported this idea.
  3. Open bidding on AP is a good idea. However, bidding price usually may have no limits. So, there is possibility that the collection of AP cars might be higher. After all, I am not expecting bidding will be made just plus RM1 from earlier bidder. To have a better idea, just look at plate number bidding. Do you see anyone winning at a lower price or make the plate number bidding value lower?
  4. On jobs created within the car industry, it is good to know that PR supports any effort to ensure that. However, it does not state if they care what will happen to local car manufacturers. It sounded like they will ignore the likes of Proton or Perodua’s fate and let the market determine their survival. In my point of view, it can provide good or bad effect, depending on how the implementation and market reacts.
  5. If you have the options of cheap cars (along with cheap petrol)… will you drive your car or use public transportation? Seriously, I would like to hear more on this as reduced car price certainly tempting youngsters especially to own cars, and due to non-confidence to public transport and daily traffic jam (due to big number of cars on the road), many has opted to drive, rather than let the public transport determine what time they reach office or home. Yes, I know that later part outline some suggestions, but between developing commercial and housing  properties and building roads and routes, which one is more catch the interest of town planner or local councils (in terms of spending and getting income from taxes)?

Okay, now let us go through to the other two thrusts, shall we?

Thrust 2

The call for mix of structural reforms, policy shifts and incentives to strengthen economic competitiveness within Malaysia and in the context of the global economy is applauded. PR aims to end monopolies among Malaysians. They will make amendments to Competition Act. It may have good impact but..

It is also noted that “Care will be given to take into account corporations or industries with national strategic importance to balance between the push for greater competition in the economy (through the weeding out of businesses that benefit solely from rent seeking arrangements) and the need to protect national strategies”. Care will be given to national strategic? Isn’t it the same what have been “enjoyed” by certain corporations? Isn’t that will lead to monopoly at certain stage? I am pretty much want to know what kind of national strategies, and what corporations or business areas that catch PR interest.

Pakatan Rakyat will also abolish 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) within 100 days of taking power in Putrajaya to refocus all government investments and ventures into business in Khazanah Nasional. It means, putting back what have been carved out from Khazanah back into Khazanah.

From what I see is, until they understand exactly why the seperation of investments is made between Khazanah and 1MDB, they are just rearranging the ownership tools of investments.

Ekuinas shall also be revamped to focus on facilitating management buy-outs (MBOs) of government-linked companies involved in noncore business by qualified, competent and genuine professional management teams. This should be an interesting case on how the buy-outs to be done which will help to build entrepreneurial class. Is it entrepreneurial class to Government or Rakyat?

And finally,

Thrust 3

The creation of state-owned oil & gas company and the increase of 20% royalty to oil producing states sounds appealing. I supposed, with Rafizi Ramli at Petronas helm before (and some others I believe) has sparked the this idea.

However, I am not quite sure how much is needed to be spent by each state to run and sustain it and how much it will effect on Petronas. I hope it will not be that much. Plus, a little bit concern on what are their plans on other states which do not depend on oil and gas. What are PR plans for them?

With no focus on other states, and emphasizing on Kelatan, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak, this is a give away that the budget is presented in a manner of GE interest. Too much focus on oil royalty with some of us may forgot that oil price to be reduced once PR in power, one may wonder what is left for Petronas, Malaysia and the states alike.

In regards to Caruman Wanita Nasional initiatives, it looks like they put their attention too to potential single mothers whereby husbands need to allocate some contribution. It is a commendable initiative, but I am little bit concern for those earning at minimum wage. I wonder how much a minimum wage husband have to contribute for his wife.

Frankly, I am not that amazed with this initiative. Why? It is because, in Islam, as a husband, it is an obligatory that a husband have to take care the welfare of his wife, even at some time after divorce and a must to his children until reaching at certain age. So, with this initiative, it is no different of including Islamic element in the life of Malaysians, beyond religion and race.

As for transformation and improvisation of PDRM, it is glad to see that PR budget has acknowledge The Ministry of Home Affairs effort on the intention to increase police strength to 150,000 officers by 2015, an increase of nearly 30%,  far beyond INTERPOL’s recommendation ratio.

However, by little misleading on allocation of CID and SB investigating personnel has given wrong picture and interpretation. From what I can understand, SB is not limited to only certain areas. They are special, which can be anywhere to attend and investigate matters, including crime related.

Therefore, I am quite unsure of how such assumptions has been made in regards to this, as the allocation within the force is a matter of national security and should not be discussed openly.

As for the success reports of PDRM, it is very much welcomed, but still, if not for proPR themselves arguing and doubting PDRM’s ability and credibility much of the time, any kind of reports of such won’t be good. Why? Pro PR themselves has been arguing and simply garbage out PDRM reports with simple argument – crime news reported in the media. As long as there’s such news reported (or even tweeted), due to consistent proPR campaign doubting PDRM’s ability, such confidence hard to be obtained.

Therefore, IF PR in power, I am very much certain hatred and non-confidence campaign against PDRM will be reduced and trust will increase.

Part 3 of the series now will touch on BN’s budget.


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