Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Of a taxi driver's plight...fuel and education

Another taxi trip, another chance to measure the nation's pulse.

During the short trip, the taxi driver willingly gives his views on 5 in 1 price hike which is hurting him and the rest in Malaysia save a selected few who walks along the corridors of power :-

  1. Granted that the government will save RM 760M in subsidies when Najib introduce his 5 in 1 price hike but more monies can be collected through PUSPAKOM and the extra income can be used to offset the fuel subsidy;
  2. It takes this particular taxi driver 3 trips to PUSPAKOM and RM 105 test fees with another RM 1000+ in repairs to get the taxi stamped "road worthy". He suggested the government to instruct PUSPAKOM to set up their own workshops and guarantees the vehicles "road worthy" within a test. This will save the taxi drivers monies and time of following up the test with PUSPAKOM getting extra revenues through repairs to get the transport up to PUSPAKOM's standards;
  3. It takes him RM 3,000+ per year to maintain the taxi, a hefty sum for "hire-purchase" drivers like him;
  4. It takes his previous company (a foreign company doing the LRT project) 2 trips to pass the PUSPAKOM although the transport is barely a year old. And his ex-pat boss was cursing PUSPAKOM for "over-dependence" to computers;
  5. It bewilders him to see busses plying Lebuh Ampang with smog exhaust passes PUSPAKOM in just one go;
  6. It riles him to see workshop owners offering "special services" and guarantees for PUSPAKOM pass;
  7. This particular taxi driver, simple minded as he is, truly believed that PUSPAKOM computers are "fixed" to come out with the test and it might be true if GIGO is applied. GIGO? Yes, Garbage In, Garbage Out!. It could happen and there is nothing the illiterate IT taxi driver can do about it;

At the end of the metered RM 6.20 trip, RM 7.00 passed between our hands and between the two of us, he needs that extra 80 sen more than the caller.

It then dawns on me. We do have Hamid Albar's driven SPAD (Public Transport Commission), don't we? If SPAD exist then SPAD should also address to the following issues :-
  1. Klang valley taxis are blessed with hybrid fuel system ie option to run on natural gas or fossilised fuel, why is the same not extended to taxis beyond Klang valley?;
  2. Pak Lah had promised earlier to look into transportation system when he raised the fuel price. Nothing significant has happened since then. Why?;
  3. Why is the government slow in pushing PETRONAS to set up NG kiosks outside Klang valley? Why is Klang valley taxis (and limited vehicles) given special treatment? Or are Klang valley taxis only need to pass PUSPAKOM?;
  4. Why is Hamid Albar concentrating Klang valley only? Does the recent fuel hike applicable to Klang valley residents only? If it applies to all, then why is the government pouring money to extend LRT service in Klang valley which is not applicable to those living outside Klang valley? Double standard? ;
  5. If taxis drivers in Klang valley has the option to pay 68 sen for a unit of NG why is the facility not extended to taxis outside Klang valley? Don't they pay the same permits?;
  6. The government has failed to implement car pooling, they have even failed to introduce "zoning system" in their effort to curb private cars entering the city centre, so what else will Hamid Albar be offering? Another re-cycled proposal?;
  7. What experience does Hamid Albar has in public transportation? Was he involved in the sector before? Is he there as political compensation? A way to milk more money from the rakyat?
  8. What about the government directive that RON 95 will not be sold to foreign cars? Who will implement it? Who will enforce it? Will it not encourage foreign cars owner to resort to placing false plate numbers to buy cheaper RON 95 petrol?;
  9. What about foreigners with local plates? Are they barred from purchasing RON 95?
The government is slipping by the day. It seems that the government is getting fond of making political suicidal decision and then trying hard to wiggle out of the situation.

Najib stated that the 5 in 1 price hike is done after taking into accounts of feedbacks. Whose feedbaks? The sugar king feedback? The petrol king feedback? What about the feedbacls from the taxi drivers, the commuters, the fishermen, the Semais, the clerks, the sweepers? Do Najib cares? Do the government cares?

Najib argued that his 5 in 1 price hike is aimed at betterment to education. Fine! But at what cost? Muhyiddein declared that Malaysians, foreign, stateless children will be get access to education. That's what Muhyiddein declared in Dewan Negara on 20th July 2010.

Now, forgive me if this person sounded sarcastic - do you really think the statement is true? Only the other day it is highlighted that the Semaian children in Bertang Lama, Pahang do not have proper access to education. And here comes Muhyiddein pledging that the government will provide education access to foreign and stateless children as well! Sometimes, the Malay proverb "Kera dihutan disusukan, anak sendiri mati kelaparan" seems so fitting to our society today.

Pak Zawi corrected this person when he said that it is not just Bertang Lama alone. Places like Cameron Highlands suffer the same fate. So here we are, DPM Muhyiddein eagerly offering education to the foreign and stateless children whilst forgetting that Malaysia's own Semais, Penans, Bateq, jakun, mah Meri, Orang Kuala, Temuan, Temiar, Semelai, Semaq Beri, and extending the education scheme to foreign children.

Remember the case where a school in Pahang complete with IT lab but without proper water and electricity? Tell me, how do you promote conducive sudy environment to these neglected thousands when Muhyiddein and the rest of the cabinet seems to be tackling issues in front of their eyes. what's not seen is out of their minds and only a priority every 4 years when GE beckons!

Yes, Muhyiddein can offer education to the foreign and stateless BUT not with taxpayers expenses! If these foreigners can afford to sent millions of ringgit to their families abroad, then they should be made to pay education at premium rate without or taxpayers monies. Simple as that. The same goes for the stateless!

Fuel and education. Najib promised to improve on these two when he announced the 5 in 1 price hike. So far the government seems to be concentrating all its efforts to address the issues in Klang valley and maybe extended to a few big cities. The fact is the 5 in 1 price hike affected all Malaysians and all those staying in Malaysia. Why then the government zeroing in Klang valley for transportation solution? What about Penang? What about Johor Bharu? What about Kelantan? What about Kedah?

What about education? The government is widening the education access to includes the foreigners and the stateless. But has the government seriously thinking aout our capabilities? If Malaysia is short of trained teachers to educate our saudara lamas, then why is Muhyiddein spreading the access to the foreigners and the stateless? Muhyiddein has not even solved the present teachers shortage, why needs to add extra burden to the teachers? Muhyiddein can't even set his thinking right on the need for PMR or not, why jump into another issue?

Yes, education is important to the foreign and stateless children. There is no doubt about that but it can be done by getting their parenst to pay for the education at premium rate. That is all! Simple and straight forward!

Do you think Najib or Muhyiddein will hear the plight of taxi drivers? In reality they don't care. As long as they can travel in their cars with sirens wailing and as long as they don't pay from their own pockets on all the expenses, they just don't and won't care.

Once in a while, it is good to take taxi and feels the nation's pulse. It is also nice to take time off and flows with the rest of Malaysia in places like Bertang Lama, Cameron Highlands. There, you may blend with the rest of us who feels the pain of 5 in 1 price hike. And if there are some of you who has so much in excess, why not pass some to those in need? Can we start with a proper education system for the Semais, perhaps?

Till then...G'nite M'sia...wherever u are...

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