Malaysians Hit For Six - TNB Smiles.
The increase, the first since the last review was made in 1997, was decided after a careful consideration of the impact of TNB's proposal for a new tariff structure on the majority of Malaysians, you said. How did you arrive at the quantum minister? And what makes you so sure that you know what the 'impact' is on us? You and the rest of the Cabinet. Do you realize that we are struggling as it is with the awful fuel hike, and just as we are trying to come to terms with that, you hit us hard on a different front? It hurts minister, believe me it really does.
You also said that in approving the proposal, the Government had considered rising costs and the need for TNB to reinvest in supply equipment in the light of increasing demand and Malaysia's changing social environment. If only you had considered the 'changing social environment' first, and seen how it has changed from middling to down in the dumps perhaps you might have deliberated more. You're so worried about 'rising costs' for TNB, but what about our expenses which have skyrocketed? Doesn't that matter at all? How am I going to make ends meet? The same question millions of Malaysians will be asking. Do you have an answer for that minister? Perhaps ex gratia payments monthly to offset the hike in tariff? Not practical is it? The Treasury can't afford it. But somehow we the citizens have to afford it, right? If TNB has to reinvest in supply equipment then it should utilize it's profits not siphon off the public's savings.
I agree with you when you say that it would encourage consumers to use energy more efficiently by being less wasteful. We are also to blame for unnecessary wastage and of course there are thieves among us who actually 'steal' electricity. However I beg to differ on your opinion that the new tariff structure is reasonable and that the Government would not tolerate profiteering and sudden and unrealistic increases in prices of goods and services. The government has previously done precious little on that score and there has been legal opinion before, that you cannot enforce what you claim. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Your final statement at the press conference was, "therefore, the tariff increase should have minimal impact on prices of consumer goods." We'll see minister, we'll see. Going by current trends you should be in your portfolio for a long time. If prices go up to painful levels be prepared for another press conference and the heat that will produce will not be Tenaga's doing.