Blog reader Sam Gopal has this to say:
You have been advocating strongly for a STRONG and WORLD CLASS public transport system. At this very time you are asking the Government to lower petrol prices. Lowering petrol prices will only make the public go back to using their cars even more. I think the push is for the Government to maintain a levy of petrol and then use this MONEY effectively to IMPROVE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION system. Lets not jump into the bandwagon and simply oppose for the sake of opposing.
On the other hand LGE is making ludicrous demands of giving RM6,000 per family using PETRONAS money. Seriously, why can’t he talk about using this money to improve public infrastructure? The very thing China is doing, pumping in USD600 BILLION plus to improve infrastructure, and not handing out money to its citizens just like that, where ther is NO Return On Investment, except paying for more imports with this sort of money handed out.
To clarify, I am not advocating a total peg to the market price. So while a price of around RM1.50/litre might be the real market price price based on the current global market price for crude and the historical trend (as Penang CM Lim Guan Eng has suggested), it might not be prudent to use that price. A price reduction, yes (to provide immediate relief for people affected by the slowing economy), but not a total free float.
I believe in the long run, we need to tax fossil fuels, which are a polluting, non-renewable resource. This could take the form of a small levy to invest in renewable energy (solar, for instance), public transport and other conservation projects. Such a levy should accompany immediate significant improvements in public transport – but so far, all the past promises of improved public transport have not materialised. This levy must go into a special “green fund”, which must be carefully and transparently managed.
Only problem is I don’t think it’s possible to have such a transparently managed fund under this administration; if the fund is not managed properly, the money could so easily be squandered in dishing out inflated contracts to cronies, as we all know. It is risky to talk about pumping in billions into infrastructure when we know there are many “leakages” along the way. Public spending should be for the widest possible public benefit and not just to profit some big-time crony contractors.