Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Petrol 2

Last night on TV3 news, various YB's and academicians were talking about prices, subsidies, and the overall increase in cost brought on by the increase in petrol price and the amount of subsidies the government has put out, for 9 (cant remember the exact number) products.
Some suggested food stamps, others direct cash to the poor. Sounds familiar, as what was done in the USA and Indonesia respectively. Both has its problems.
In Indonesia, its difficult to define poor and to get a complete list of the poor. Plus the usual cases of the rich suddenly getting their hands on the cash / coupons when its meant for the poor. While I was in Pontianak, this was a major issue on their TV news, aside from the demonstrations.
In the Malaysian context, I wonder how will this subsidy materialize. I cant see proper control and implementation, and expect corruption, unless proper controls are put in place. Our problem here has never been our laws, they are wonderful. Its the implementation, maintenance, and enforcement.
Come on, every day we see car drivers flouting the law with no consequences to them. Every so often we read in the papers or see on TV3, of corruption, illegal timber logging, factories not following the laws, pollution and others. The laws are there, the enforcement...?
But I do agree with what one of the YBs, that the best is to take off all the subsidies (we save billions), and let the market forces work (if you want to have a huge car and use large amounts of petrol, pay for it). The poor, defined by income, can be helped with cash. Then, somehow or rather, enforcement must be done.

All in all, it was an interesting news story last night. Wonder what will happen after this? I think I should start looking for a motorbike... : )

Ernest
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