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RM750 Million Savings From The Cut In Road Tax Is Still Not Comparable To What Malaysians Can Share From The RM 35.5 Billion In Profits Earned By Petronas In 2004.


Press Conference Statement
by Lim Guan Eng  


(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): No one would object to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawiís 4-point economic relief package of no new fuel price hike until the end of the year; a cut of between 25% and 50% in the road tax for commercial vehicles and private vehicles respectively; a two-year moratorium on highway toll hike while the poor who are on the government's welfare dole will receive more than what they are getting now.

DAP express concern that this relief package is a temporary stop-gap measure that does not address the real economic problems faced by Malaysians of poor business conditions and rising inflation. For instance the RM 750 million that the government lost from the cut in road tax and benefit Malaysians is still not comparable to what Malaysians can share from the RM 35.5 billon in profits earned by Petronas in 2004.

 

Is RM 750 million all the government can offer to Malaysians from the three fuel price increases this year when Malaysians have to pay billions of ringgit extra, estimated by some at least RM 4 billion ? As a reference, consider how much more Petronas earned from the rise in oil prices to US$ 71 per barrel. Petronas has definitely earned extra billions of ringgit and tens of times more than the RM 750 million cut in road tax.

 

Isnít there something ethically wrong that Malaysians are given only relief of RM 750 million when Petronas earns tens of billions of ringgit extra from the rise in fuel prices? As oil is a national commodity owned by 25 million Malaysians, national interest requires such revenue and earnings to be shared and enjoyed by every Malaysian. DAPís reiterates our call that Petronas share its 2004 profits with Malaysians which is so huge that even if every single Malaysian receive RM 1,000 each, Petronas will still have left RM 10.5 billion.

 

Furthermore, how does RM 750 million from the reduction in road tax help to boost up the economy and control inflation. Failure to address these problems would not only result in the failure of 6% economic growth predicted by Bank Negara and the government. More importantly, the people will still suffer from either reduced income from the poor business climate or from rising inflation.

The time has come for the government to address fundamental problems of poor economic growth and rising inflation. Forgoing RM 750 million in revenue from the cut in road tax even though welcome is superficial at best. A more comprehensive approach that does not sacrifice efficiency and competitiveness by allowing prices to find its own natural levels and at the same time improve productivity and economic growth, is to allow all Malaysians to share in Petronas profits. The time has come for the people to benefit in our oil resources and not allow the huge profits earned to be misused and abused to finance scandals and failed projects like Perwaja and the huge Bank Negara foreign exchange losses.


(08/09/2005)      

                                                       


* Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General
 

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