Recap and personal comments on Debat Minyak Datuk Seri Anwar and Datuk Shabery (PART 2)

Part 1 is located here…

A panel posed a question to Datuk Shabery regarding government’s action a number of years ago to increase petrol prices by 30 cents in which he wanted to know where the money saved from that decision went to. It was said that the money was supposed to be used to improve our public transportation facilities. If I remember correctly, Datuk Shabery failed to answer this. I myself am interested to know. To me, the same problems that we had a number of years ago are still present to this day. Why weren’t there any improvements? How was the money spent?
Further into the debate, Datuk Seri Anwar argued that each $1 (I can’t recall whether it was in Ringgit or US Dollar) the price of oil increases, Petronas will benefit by $260 million. Datuk Shabery rebutted with “Kita pengeluar minyak nombor berapa? Kita net exporter kecil saja.” (not exact quote).

Datuk Shabery added that only 26% of Petronas’ profits comes from the domestic market while the rest are from overseas’ investments. He went on posing a series of questions to the audience, “What will happen when oil runs out in Malaysia? What will happen when we are a net importer?”. That’s why we are investing overseas, says Datuk Shabery. I have to say, that is a good point.

With regards to how petrol subsidies are to be sourced, Datuk Seri Anwar insisted that Petronas’ funds won’t be touched. Well, the thing is, throughout the blogosphere, when his supporters were asked how petrol subsidies should be funded, a lot of people responded with “Petronas kan ada! Petronas kan banyak duit!”. That’s also how I came to the conclusion that Pakatan Rakyat‘s plan is to “slaughter” Petronas to derive money for the purpose of subsidies.

To me, the highlight of the evening was when Datuk Seri Anwar was asked the question of what will happen if oil runs out by 2012 (or was it 2015?) and we become a net importer. Can the subsidies be sustained?

Why I said this was the highlight of the evening is because of Datuk Seri Anwar running around the bush, not answering or addressing the question at all. If I remember correctly, he responded with remarks like “who said oil will run out” and etc. He also went on and on talking about IPP and diesel. He also said isn’t it possible to get just RM1 billion from Petonas’ special dividend to ease the rakyat‘s pain? May I remind you to look at the question. He did not answer it. Datuk Shabery stated “if” oil runs out, what is your plan? He was not saying oil will definitely run out by the mentioned date. Datuk Seri Anwar should have talked about his plans on how to tackle the subsidy issue when we become a net importer in the future.

Another interesting fact told by Datuk Shabery is that already 91% of Petronas Berhad’s (not the whole group) profit was handed over to the government. He then stressed “what else do we want to take from them?”

So, there you go, a short recap of what happened that night. I could have elaborated a bit better but oh well, nobody wants to read if it was too long.

Anyway, I believe that personal attacks from Datuk Shabery’s side should have been kept to the absolute minimum and time saved from that could have been used to further substantiate his arguments and ideas. Datuk Shabery kept on making irrelevant remarks about Datuk Seri Anwar and his demonstrations and protests in the past, his problems and IMF, and how he didn’t do a good job when he was in power. Honestly, I thought Datuk Shabery shouldn’t have touched those issues at all. Oh well, there were also sinister remarks made by Datuk Seri Anwar himself.

All in all, it is in my opinon that the Menteri Penerangan Datuk Shabery Cheek was somewhat successful in explaining the government’s stand to increase the petrol price.

P.S. I also happen to agree with the statement made by one of the panels to Datuk Seri Anwar. Why can’t you just share your amazing ideas and plans with the government instead of talking about changing governments?


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