Raja Sara Petra
Lim Guan Eng’s financial wizard, Tony Pua, says the government can save roughly RM6 billion (RM5.3-6.5 billion) if it pays RM6.2 billion to nationalise the four highways (LDP, SPRINT, Kesas and SMART concessionaires). First of all, what about the interest of about RM250,000 a year plus the operational cost (which Tony Pua has not revealed). So, the cost is not really RM6.2 billion as what Tony Pua said. It could even be RM15 billion, which we do not know yet because the government is not telling us.
Then Lim Guan Eng says the highway users can save RM2 billion over the concession period if the government nationalises those four highways. Maybe Guan Eng, even though he is the Finance Minister, does not know there is no such as “free use”. Someone, somewhere has to pay for others to use free. So, the taxpayers who are NOT using the highways will end up paying for those who are using the highway. Does Guan Eng and Tony Pua not know this?
Finally, when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister he embarked on privatising many things, especially government services such as water supply, electricity supply, highways, etc. In the end, the consumer had to pay more because the objective of private companies and businesses is to make a profit for their shareholders and not to provide community service to the rakyat. That is what capitalism and commercialism are all about.
Today, under Pakatan Harapan, and with Mahathir still as prime minister, the government is embarking on nationalising everything, just like what they do in socialist or communist countries. Is Pakatan saying that Mahathir’s privatisation policies of 1981-2003 were wrong? Is Pakatan trying to correct Mahathir’s mistakes when he was PM4 by nationalising all the privatised services?
If those projects had NOT been privatised in the first place, and then nationalised again after being privatised, the Malaysian taxpayers would not need to spend so much. Now we need to spend double or more. And did Mahathir not justify his privatisation programme by saying the private sector is more efficient than the government sector so by privatising we get better service? Has that changed? Is the government sector now more efficient than the private sector?
How many government companies or GLCs are there? I was told they are in the thousands all over Malaysia. And how many are actually making a profit? I was told less than 10% are profitable while the majority are losing loads of money because the people running them are corrupt or inefficient. Is this not why Mahathir decided to embark on privatisation in the first place? Now U-turn pulak! Apalah Pakatan Harapan ni? Berpusing-pusing!