Recap and personal comments on Debat Minyak Datuk Seri Anwar and Datuk Shabery (PART 1)

Watching the first ever gentlemen duel between two of Malaysia’s top political figures, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Datuk Shabery Cheek, I couldn’t help taking down some notes to be used as materials for my blog.

My notes were really long but for the purpose of readability (if it was too long, people are going to doze off!), I’ll break them into a few parts…

The topic of the debate was “Hari ni bentuk kerajaan, esok turun harga minyak“.

So, where to start? First of all, allow me to begin by saying that my opinions might be a bit biased. Biased in a sense that I believe fuel price hike is inevitable and I don’t believe that it is sustainable to keep petrol prices at the bowser down. Especially in the current market environment.

First criticism is directed towards Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. He kept on screaming out about Pakatan Rakyat‘s intention to slash the petrol price. My question is, from which point? Before the election, it was said that they will slash the petrol price if they were elected into office. So, that means, slashing the petrol price from the then RM1.92. However, during the debate night he instead said that they will slash the price from the current price (RM2.70) by 50 cents. So, that means, from RM2.70 to RM2.20 and not from RM1.92 to RM1.42. In effect, that’s also an increase in petrol price. An increase from RM1.92 to RM2.20! What happened to the promise before the election about slashing petrol price? Granted, Barisan Nasional also promised not to jack up the price, so in this case, both parties have broken their promises.

Addressing the 50-cent price cut, Datuk Seri Anwar also looked reluctant to talk about further price cuts. Does that mean that Datuk Seri Anwar is aware of the fact that like it or not, petrol price has to increase?

Datuk Shabery also addressed the issue of price cuts in which he said that if prices were maintained at RM1.92, billions (sorry I didn’t catch the actual figure) will need to be spent in forms of government subsidies. In effect, which is in line with my own argument, you will be using funds that are supposed to be spent in other areas.

Another argument was of Petronas’ market share of 40%. If the government were to maintain subsisidies to keep price at RM1.92, that means, a huge sum of money will be given to foreign oil companies. These companies will win without doing anything much.

Datuk Shabery also went on comparing us with other countries like Norway in which Datuk Seri Anwar got agitated, saying it was not right to compare us with a developed nation such as the Norway.

Hang on a minute… I still remember vaguely about a ceramah when he went on to compare the price of Durian here in Malaysia and Japan!

However, I noticed that Datuk Seri Anwar has failed to address the problem of subsidising the foreign companies that control 60% of market share. He instead went on to say about helping the “petanis” and the “nelayans” and criticised government’s attitude of using the word incentives when helping Government-Linked-Companies (GLCs) and subsidies (which is a rather ‘dirty’ word) when assisting the “petanis” and the “nelayans”.

My point is, Datuk Seri Anwar should have talked about whether or not giving free money to the foreign companies is fine. To me, if it was agreed to be alright, that constitutes to a rather idiotic way in spending the hard-earned rakyat‘s funds.

To be continued in Part 2…


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