Flip flops continue to be the norm

27 Aug 2019 / 20:45 H.

MANY Malaysians who voted for change are looking at the government for answers.

It was surprising to read that motorcycle e-hailing service Go-Jek is going to make an entrance into the Malaysian market, after Transport Minister Anthony Loke had said earlier that Malaysian company Dego-Ride “would never be approved”.

I guess it helps to have the Ministry of Youth and Sports lobby for an international company rather than support a Malaysian company doing the exact same thing.

In Malaysia, delivery services are offered by FoodPanda, HonestBee, GrabFood and even Tesco Online.

Why would a minister lobby for a foreign company to compete in an already convoluted market, when all he could do was give approvals to enable motorcyclists to get the licence to transport people?

Isn’t the approval of Go-Jek the same as what Grab drivers had to go through with the PSV licence and insurance? Are you then going to get every single motorcyclist wanting to ferry passengers to have their motorcycles inspected by Puspakom first?

Another flip flop has been over toll concessions. Who exactly is buying the tolls? Will it be Maju Holdings or the government?

There is news that the government is discussing the issuance of bonds totalling RM48 billion to buy the highways, while it is still considering an offer from the private company.

Or, is the government going to issue the bonds, buy the highway and appoint Maju Holdings as its sole concessionaire for all tolled highways? But why would you do such a thing when PLUS has been managing highways for a longer time?

The prime minister had said that buying out the tolls would not mean the roads would be free. Tolls will continue to be collected. Well, that means one Buku Harapan promise gets undone.

Another promise was not to give out army ranks. And yet, both Selangor’s mentri besar and Malacca’s chief minister have been made honorary brigadier-generals – the same rank as Khairy Jamaluddin.

However, many people are misrepresenting promises made in Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto. We saw one example during the protest against Lynas. There was no promise in the Buku Harapan to shut down Lynas. The last time it received mention in a manifesto was during the 2013 general election.

The 2013 manifesto included cheaper cars, cheaper fuel and abolishing the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) – all of which are not mentioned in the 2018 Buku Harapan.

Speaking of which, no promise was made to abolish PTPTN. The promise was that repayments would only start once borrowers started earning RM4,000 a month. And honestly, it was a lofty goal to begin with seeing as how the median Malaysian salary is lower than RM3,000 per person.

The promise would have ruined the fund’s ability to function for both the 2018 and 2019 sessions of freshmen entering tertiary education.

There are a lot more things that warrant a re-look. Private colleges are having their licences renewed for only a year. River pollution in Selangor, Kedah and Johor is too serious to ignore.

Selangor is still allowing illegal plastic recycling factories to operate, albeit without water and electricity. Johor has factories without permits in Pasir Gudang that have been operating for more than a year.

And some Malaysians have forgotten which side is up for the Jalur Gemilang.

However, the people really need to understand that perhaps it isn’t the government that needs to change. Perhaps it is the people who need to change first.

Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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