Thursday, March 02, 2006

Petrol Price Hike

Title: Petrol Price Hike.

I am writing this from the other side of the world, petrol price rise in Malaysia does not mean that much to me. While I appreciate that an increase in petrol price might have flow on effect in secondary price rises in other goods that uses transport to reach its market, like most essential goods and food items, I don’t buy much petrol, maybe on average $20-$30 a week. You see, for the past 2 years since the price of petrol started rising in the world market (over here it was NZD80 cents (RM1.50 back then) a litre 5 years ago, now NZD1.49 (RM3.70 now) I have been using my old trusty bicycle. I only used my car to transport the kids sometimes and whenever I need to transport stuff like groceries from supermarket. Now I am not suggesting that everyone should bike to work, it would take an hour if you live 15km away, but if it just 5-6kms, it would be good for your body. You can do away with your weekly gym session! If public transport is available and possible, why not use it? Over here, secondhand bicycle prices have been rising steadily for the past 2 years. Sure sign that people start using alternative form of transport, and saving the world energy resources, in this case oil, at the same time.
I applaud the government move to face the reality that higher oil prices, and hence higher petrol price is here to stay. Over a year ago I wrote to and suggesting that the government do away with petrol subsidy and let petrol prices at the pump reflect world price. That the subsidy benefits the rich instead of the poor, after all, small car and motorbike don’t use much petrol, but big cars like Mercedes and Perdana driven by the rich does. I also suggested the money saved, estimated to be RM4.1billion, be used to improve public transport in the country. It is heartening to see that there might be somebody in the policy department read my piece in an online publication and take it onboard.
No doubt that petrol price hike is inflationary, and it will eat a huge chunk of ordinary Malaysian’s pay packet, if they keep on using their car just to go to work or neighbourhood nasi lemak stall a couple of miles from home. But if everyone changed their habit, use public transport or bicycle for short distances, the decision to raise the petrol price would result in billions of ringgit saved from wastage. We would reasonably expect that after the price rise, people would economize and buy less petrol (in litre), so the amount of subsidy would also be less. For example if original amount of petrol consumed was 10million litres, with the price rise, the amount consumed can be expected to be less, say 8million litres, then a huge amount of saving is already made. For this theory to hold, the amount of price rise has to be big enough so that consumers would change their habit. If the price rises only by 2-3 sen every month, this might not hit consumers’ pocket too much that they wouldn’t change their habit. So the government decision to raise the petrol price by 30sen is correct. Hopefully Malaysian would use public transport and/or bicycle for a change.
Now considering the flow on secondary effect of prices of good and services that need to be transported to reach their market – food, household goods etc. My experience here, tells me that prices of food and other goods and services doesn’t increase, except bus fares. Firms in transport industry learn to improve their efficiency (less frequent but larger deliveries) or introduces surcharge for fuel component, like airfare ticket these days, there is a fuel surcharge in addition to fare price. Over time, Malaysians will realize sooner or later that their expectations that the price food and other goods will also rise is baseless.
What about The huge profits from Petronas? I would rather receive it in the form of cash dividend (as Malaysians we all have a share in this government company) rather let the profit be guzzled by Mercedes driving countrymen/women who demanded their petrol be subsidized. As I said previously, small car or motorbike don’t use much petrol, big cars do. Yes we read about their complaints, I suspect most of the are middle class, 2-3 car households and live in 2 storey house in the suburbs and well educated to be able to write eloquently in letter-to-editor columns, not bicycle riding like me.



Anonymous said...

Ong kata...
I, for one, would agree to using the bicycle to get around, even if I have to use one to go to office. The situation is, and I am sure Noor Yahya is aware, our public transportation has gotten from bad to worse. Many years ago, when public transport companies were privately owned by Indians and Chinese, they may not be efficient but they sure serve the purpose in getting me to my office on time and I have been a bus commuter for many years. And despite all the handicaps, these companies were making money! After the entire transport system have been taken over by the bumiputra consortium, the service starts to decline further and further. In the housing estate where I am staying, the bus would arrive every one hour, sometimes a few minutes late which many of the residents can tolerate. Now they don't even turn up at all and it has been reported that such companies (under the bumi consortium) is losing money! How is this possible???? So the bus is out for me. I tried the LRT, but it is located at least three miles from my home. What choice do I have but to drive to office.

All I can say is that the country is miserably mismanaged and now the rakyat have to pay the price for it. I can easily cite three simple cases:
1. Building useless projects such as Putrajaya and the KLIA. Come on - if the president of the most powerful nation in the world can stay in a building that is centuries old and the prime minister of Great Britain is staying in a roadside apartment, what makes our people so bigheaded that they have to stay in a palace??? As for KLIA, I have seen better (and higher) traffic in the 70s (I was a tourist guide) when the old Subang International Airport was in use than now. We used to have QANTAS charter flights, Sabena, Nippon Airways, British Airways, KLM, and many more. Where are they now? Today, more than not, we only see MAS and AIRASIA planes parked at the airport aprons.
2. Croynism - look at the amount that was paid to Tajuddin Ramli. It is mind boggling.
3. Corruption - nothing is transparent and as long as the PM does not make the ACA accountable to Parliament, his words relating to his anti-corruption drive drive hollow!

All this while, Malaysians of all races especially those in the bottom rung of society get nothing in return, and yet they have to now pay for the folly of our leaders. This is terribly unfair!

Thursday, March 02, 2006 11:14:22 AM
Majidringo kata...
Malaysia panas la lu

Thursday, March 02, 2006 11:59:14 AM
Majidringo kata...
May be we should removed the whole fuel subsidies once and for all. Let the fuel price float at market price. May be we will manage better and get smarter too. Then we can utilized all the instruments available to make good buy.

To me fuel subsidy is just a poor men fight and the rich men victory...

What we need is free medical, education etc..

Thursday, March 02, 2006 12:07:03 PM
LChuah kata...
Ong said...
> our public transportation has gotten from bad to worse.]]

True. Take, for example, the LRT feeder bus system. Now feeder buses are there to take passengers who stay far from the LRT stations. For passengers the time taken to travel by LRT includes time for the feeder bus ride. Thus feeder buses should not, like the commercial buses, wait for passengers: they must arrive and depart as scheduled. This is not the case. Worse, sometimes the drivers give themselves breaks. They park the buses, let the engines run, while they go somewhere else to smoke and gossip with a fellow bus driver. This not only wastes fuel, but also pollutes the air unnecessarily. And of course, irritates the passengers so that they try to find some alternative transport.

The buses are there. The LRT trains are there. But the people working in the transport companies still manage to foul up the whole system.

P/S: if the engines are left idle for, say, for five to ten minutes, perhaps the waste in fuel wouldn't be that obvious. However, I've seen buses at, for example, the Kelana Jaya LRT, sputtering for nearly an hour! Clearly, what these drivers were doing was to skip a trip. Perhaps some phones should be set up at the stations for headquarters to receive instantly passenger complaints.

Thursday, March 02, 2006 12:26:41 PM
Tapa kata...
Ya la...kalu summer pun still 18 degrees ok la kayuh basikal, why not kayuh sampan pun boleh.

Ni kat negara dekat dengan garis 0 degrees garis melintang tu cuba le kayuh basikal nak pegi office, pehhhh...

Apa le punya comparison

Thursday, March 02, 2006 5:12:41 PM
Don'tPlayGod kata...
With our public transportation in such a pathetatic position, perhaps we should all sell our 2nd and 3rd cars and switch to m/cycles, especially those underbone bikes(eg. those 100 cc's).

Moreover our LRT's are not strategically routed. Just imagine, the mid-valley megamall, where it is estimated that more than 100,000 vist it daily is not served by the LRT. You can see a lot of those stations located near kampongs and villages! So what improvement to our public transport are the authorities talking about?

Anonymous said...

To save on oil subsidies and use it on public transport is great in theory -but does not work like this in crony-ruled Malaysia at all ! The money saved is already marked for paying to loss making Government linked companies like MAS -which ask for RM3bil ! Then you have all the compensations to the toll companies for deferred toll hikes. Then to rescueing endless no of GLCs/ crony companies. So how much of the $ will be left for public transport ? Actually the BN govt had already spent double to build the LRTs -once to build them, second to rescue the bankcrupting privatised companies. So it is not that they are short of $ for public transport -it is only that whatever they do the benefitting of the cronies come first ! So subsidising the people's fuel is by comparison far more transparent !

As to the oil subsidies benefitting the rich more : tell me how many Malaysians owns Mercs ? Personally may be he get more subsidies -but as a % of the entire subsidies it does not make logical sense that the few rich can ever enjoy more subsidised fuel than the 99% non-Merc owners.

Thursday, March 02, 2006 10:29:23 PM
free coupon kata...
sucker noor,

Of course is good when the petrol price increases and it doesn't affect you one tiny bit. How many free coupons will you or your reltatives here will be receiving monthly?

With the racist umnoputras practise racist politics, it's obvious that only umnoputras will receive the subsidies and coupons. And all those NONumnoputras will have to pay for the price hike.

Yeah, you sucker of the highest degree, what do you know about umnoputra politics? How much fund do you receive for staying overseas? Have your stay overseas long overdue and you are supposed to be back here in Malaysia long long ago to lick your umno boss arse? And what the f@3k you doing there in overseas wasting tax-payers money? You are a bloody nuisance to the country and you are just a bloody parasite to the Rakyat. How many coupons have you been allocated and how much fund to keep you alive there overseas?

The people who are affected the most are the poor Rakyat who need a vehicle to meet ends meet. Look at the cars before and after office hours, see what types of cars are on the roads? Yes, mostly economical cars driven by the poor Rakyat!

If the corrupted umnoputras cannot manage our country effectively and with frugality, please balik kampung and plant vegebles. Yes no rearing of chickens because all these umnoputras are infected with avian bird flu.

All these umnoputras are just a bunch of parasites who are a bane to the nation. To eliminate corruptions in Malaysia, all these umnoputras must be eliminated completely.

Thursday, March 02, 2006 10:59:26 PM
HappY BloggEr kata...
I read with a barely hidden glee Noor Yahaya Hamzah's letter to the editor, utterly amused by the writer's ignorance of the state of Malaysia's public transport system.

I do urge, however, that our learned friend gets his butt (please forgive my French) back here from the land of the Kiwis and try to get from say, Ampang to Gombak.

Let our friend experience, first hand, the regular 1 hour wait for our brand new RapidKL busses (newly painted, that is) while being pampered by our Malaysian first class smog, smoke and dust.

Next, I would like to urge him to take a tour of our PutraLine LRT and get an experience of what it feels like to become sardines (and more often than now, he will also get the privilege of faulty air conditioning - free of charge, of course).

If that isn't enough, I would like him to fork out RM 1.90 (x 2 trips for "Rapid" KL bus) and RM 2.60 (For "Rapid" KL PutraLINE) just to get from Ampang to Gombak. And don't forget the return trip. Go on. I'm sure you would be more than happy to part with your hard earned RM 12.80 each day that you need to commute to work.

Come, dear Noor Yahaya Hamzah, come XPerience our brand new, totally INTEGRATED, fully air conditioned RAPID KL public transport system. And if you are lucky, you might just get your ass groped in the process (again, forgive my French).

Friday, March 03, 2006 12:10:06 AM
OgHaE kata...
What la you people go layan this Noor 'whatever his name is' - bet you its not a real name, and he wasn't writing from NZ.

Check out Malaysiakini, and you'll find the same letter posted there too. Wahhhh, so concern la this guy!

Tell u what, my theory is - this guy works for Khairy Jamaluddin (in fact he has a bunch of them - a fact) following comments/blogs/whatnots on cyberspace and will post comments to try to put so-called 'alternative' perspective to hot issues that may damage the image of Pak Lah's govt. And yes, I've noticed this trend ever since his first 'day' in 'power'.

I've always said this to friends - Khairy is a 'text-book' politician. If you pick up any text book on politics you will easily see his moves etc. Man! You don't fool me......Oxford Grad was it? So ***king what!

Friday, March 03, 2006 7:49:21 PM

Anonymous said...


This is pure economics. Rising fuel cost will be expected to push upwards price of complimentary goods eg transport etc. If cost of transportation goes up, most likely mamak stalls need to adjust price of teh tarik, thus resulting in cosh-push type of inflation. Mungkin boleh beli teh separoh cawan lepas ni...

Perhaps it is time for the government to opt for substitute goods eg solar etc. In Malaysia, gas price is still cheap, but unfortunately, not many NGV stations around. Should ask Doc J's Dialog to start negotiating with the governement for full scale development of NGV stations. Sime Darby some 10 years ago thru its subsidiary, Tractors Malaysia pur forth some proposals on the same issue, unfortunately there was this issue on who would bear the NGV infra cost - govt of oil companies?

Most people who travel to offices on their cars would normally need about 60litres of petrol per week, thus there will be additional cost of about RM70-100 per month on petrol, just to travel to office.For someone with take home pay of RM1000 per month, 10% margin is a major increase.

Anonymous said...

Petrol is an essential item to most Malaysians now, and motorbikes and cars
are really the main transport mode.Few live within 5km of their places of
work.Most damaging is the punishing tropical sun that enervates anyone
thinking about riding a bike to work.

So unless and until public transportation improves, housing policy revised
drastically and perhaps solar energy harnessed to benefit Malaysians, the
petrol price hike will be something Malaysians got to live with.

Petronas monies should really be directed into these areas: public
transportation, public housing and exploring and development of alternative
energy sources.


Anonymous said...

Biking to work is a great suggestion except there are just a tad bit of problems here;

a) No biking lane,
b) Agressive drivers who think they own the roads
c) Have you tried crossing the road lately, even at traffic lights? They speed up upon seeing you crossing, what to do mah?
d) the buses/lorries exhaust fumes, will make you smell oil all day long
e) give you heart attack instead of lower cholestrol

FYI, I tried to ride bike when I first started work (lived in Ampang then), its a good 15km, it lasted only a week because the reason stated above. Also have to go really early to shower at the office toilet!!

Now i do hash running on Saturdays and/or bike Hash on sundays