Friday, March 07, 2008

Lets talk about fuel

I visited Khairy Jamaluddin's website at in it, he gives an eloquent speech on why Anwar's election promise of lowering the price of fuel is false. In Anwar's campaign trail, the one thing he always raises up are how the prices of oil was low when he was Minister of Finance. Khairy counters back that the price of oil in the international market was also low, now it has has gone up tremendously. Watch his video where he makes his argument at his website.

I agree with Khairy's viewpoint. For all the crazy things Khairy has done, he's still a smart boy... no matter what evil they say he has done. He further argues that the profits Petronas has made is reinvested in oil exploration overseas in countries like Sudan. If you've ever watch the news, you'll know countries like Sudan aren't easy to invest in. It's extremely risky, it takes deep pockets to go to places like these.

My real concern however which Khairy doesn't bring up is about the amount of wastage in our subsidy system. There is a lot of wastage in taxpayer's money. I need not elaborate more on examples on wastages, everyone has already heard examples of wastage from the opposition and even in the official media.

I've always believed that there's something wrong with our fuel subsidy system. We can't afford to give a blanket fuel subsidy system anymore. We need to have formulate a targeted fuel subsidy system. Those who drive large fuel guzzling SUV's and luxury cars more than 2.0 litres engine. Those who really deserve fuel subsidies are the fuel traders; those from the lower income group. Only those deserving of fuel subsidies should be given a quota of fuel vouchers.

There is also a lot of wastage in the fuel subsidies giving to the fishermen. When I was Kuala Terengganu, someone commented to me how the fishermen there don't go out to catch fish that often anymore. Instead, the only time they go out is to sell their subsided fuel. Even the minister of agriculture commented on how when the fish catches has decreased as the amount of fuel subsidies given to fishermen has increased. That shows that something fishy is going on.

Also, the Petronas accounts are not transparent according to the opposition. I for one know shit about accounting but I would like to know how they actually use their money. I want to know if it also includes subsidising cronies. I also wish Petronas would be fairer in it policies which is now more pro-bumiputera when awarding contracts. Other races need help too.

Meddling with the fuel prices shouldn't be the long term solution. Using petrol itself is environmentally damaging. We as a country should instead think of alternative energy... and I don't think it should be palm oil fuel. The large swats of land we clear to grow palm oil in Malaysia is already damaging enough to our ecosystem, imagine if we had to clear more land to grow for our fuel needs. Food crops should not be used as biofuel.

We need to harnest other natural resources that we have in abundant, solar energy, hidroelectric... We already have that in abundant here. I wouldn't mind getting less fuel subsidies if the government reinvest the money instead in finding alternative fuel sources. If the government could take out RM 1 billion from the fuel subsidies and put it into the research of renewable fuel resources for Malaysians... then in future, there would be more money to go around for everyone... even the cronies would be happy!

Today is the last day of campaigning. I already know who I'm going to vote for... hrm, don't think I want to attend anymore political rallies. Quite tiring. Yesterday I had to squat under my umbrella in a heavy rain... like an old uncle lah. I bought a stack of Oscar winning DVD's that I haven't watched yet. Yesterday I watched V for Vendetta again. The Wachowski brothers make excellent anti-government movies. I love their Matrix Trilogy too. The amount of propoganda they have in V largely mirrors what we are seeing now during the campaigning period. Very scarry indeed.

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