Malaysians have been deceived for so long that we have been subsidized for our petrol. In fact we have been paying more than our fair share for our petrol. How is this? We need to look at the big picture of petrol prices, the price of cars, toll charges, per capita income and the cost and efficiency of public transportation.
I am glad that our Minister of Information made a comparison of petrol prices in Malaysia and some Scandinavian countries. Let me make a simple comparison between Malaysia and Australia to show that we have been cheated all these years.
1. Per capita income of Australia (USD35,990.00) is more than 6 times that of Malaysia (USD5,490.00) in 2006. (Source: World Bank)
2. Starting pay of a graduate in Malaysia RM2,500.00 per month and in Australia AUD4,000.00 (RM12,000.00) per month.
3. Price of one liter of petrol in Malaysia RM2.70 and in Australia AUD1.75 (RM5.25). The price differential is RM2.55 a liter.
Assume we buy a similar new car in both countries, a 1.8L Honda Civic Auto cost RM110,000.00 in Malaysia and AUD24,000.00 (RM72,000.00) in Australia. That is a difference of RM38,000.00. If we divide the price differential of the car with the cost of petrol, 38,000/2.55=14,900 liters of petrol. This means that an owner of a Honda Civic will upon consuming the first 14,900 liters of petrol is actually not getting a single cent of subsidy from the government.
The cost of a new Honda Civic in Malaysia is equivalent to 44 months salary of a fresh graduate. In Australia it is 6 months salary of a fresh graduate. It is a known fact that according to our previous Minister of MITI she openly admitted that the duty on cars in Malaysia is imposed not to protect Proton alone, but that the government is now dependent on car duty as an important source of government revenue. So where has the trillions of dollars collected all these years gone?
I had recently returned from a driving holiday in Australia. We drove approximately 8,000 km from Melbourne to Perth and return, and guess what? I did not have to pay a single cent in terms of TOLL!!!!!!!! The road condition is in no way inferior to that of our Malaysian roads.
The state of public transportation in this country is a joke and needs no further elaboration. The government will never improve public transportation as this will force Malaysians to buy the national car!
If we look at the big picture it looks as if we Malaysians have been taken to the cleaners by the Malaysian government all these years without realizing it. We have been conned by the Malaysian government into believing that the government has been so kind to us by subsidizing our petrol. It is especially sad if we compare car prices with the developed countries in addition to the income level. It is time that the present Minister of MITI take a good look at the national car policy and correct the wrongs after all these years. The man who is responsible for this atrocious Malaysian car project is no longer in power, so fear not, Mr. Minister and do the right thing for the citizens of this country.