Pakatan Harapan has prepared a slew of incentives under its manifesto for the upcoming general elections.
Among them are to lower electricity charges and oil prices.
Pakatan Harapan also plans to scrap the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
But are all these manifestoes possible?
Do they benefit the rakyat?
Lets take a look.
Lower electricity charges
One of Pakatan Harapan’s manifestoes is to lower electricity charges.
How does Pakatan intend to do that?
Electricity in Malaysia is mainly generated from gas and coal.
Gas is already heavily subsidised by Petronas.
Does Pakatan intend to ask from Petronas for more subsidies?
Petronas as it is, is already pressured and registering weak earnings.
If Pakatan Harapan wants to lower electricity charges, it will have to ask Petronas for more subsidies.
This is not feasible and how much more can Petronas subsidise?
If Petronas continues to give subsidies, it will collapse.
It is the same thing with coal.
Coal is controlled by world market demand and supply.
If coal prices is high, Tenaga Nasional has no choice but to pass the increase to the rakyat by increasing electricity tariffs.
This is standard practise among all businesses.
Pakatan Harapan and Tenaga do not control coal prices.
If Pakatan Harapan wants to lower electricity charges, it has to subsidise Tenaga and Petronas.
Where will Pakatan get the money?
Lower water charges
Another one of Pakatan’s plans is to lower water charges.
Although the Selangor state government is providing free water for the rakyat, it is facing problems.
Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali admitted in 2016 that the state is registering costs of RM1.1 billion just to supply 20 cubic metres of free water to each rakyat in Selangor.
This initiative is not sustainable in the long term.
This is because water companies need to expand.
The companies need to lay out new pipes, source the water, treat the water and distribute to houses and factories and shop lots.
In the long run, Selangor will bleed financially.
And it is the rakyat who will then suffer.
150,000 units of affordable and comfortable housing
This plan is not new.
The Barisan Nasional government already has a similar plan.
Its called 1Prima Housing Berhad which aims to build 500,000 units of houses by 2020.
So far the initiative is going well and has received good response from the rakyat.
This is proof that the Barisan Nasional government is always concerned on the welfare of the rakyat.
Lower oil prices
In its manifesto, Pakatan Harapan plans to bring down oil prices?
How can PH do that?
Oil prices are not controlled by Malaysia.
Oil prices are controlled by international market demand and supply situation.
And the only way for Pakatan Harapan can lower oil prices is to pay subsidies which cost billions of ringgit to Petronas.
Does Pakatan Harapan have the money to pay the subsidies?
Again, this manifesto is not feasible.
Malaysia is growing rapidly and it now has a population of 30 million people and new housing estates sprout every day all over the country.
Due to this increase, the government needs to build new roads and highways.
The government simply does not have enough funds to build new roads and it needs the participation of private companies.
This is called the public partner partnership and projects such as this include the New Pantai Expressway, Litrak, Lekas, Kesas and others.
And to pay back the company, the government allows them to collect tolls.
If Pakatan Harapan does not want new roads, does it have enough money to build the highways?
Can Pakatan Harapan build new highways without inviting the companies?
And if Pakatan Harapan wants to abolish tolls, it needs to compensate the companies.
Because the concession agreement to collect tolls can last over 20 or 30 years from now.
If Pakatan Harapan wins the elections and terminate the concession agreement.
Will it have the money to compensate the highway companies?
The international community does not like subsidies
Please bear in mind that the international community and investors do not like subsidies.
The investors want everybody to compete on a level playing field.
They want the market to be fair and square.
If the international investor can’t make higher profit because of subsidies, the investors will pull out of Malaysia.
They will then invest their money in other countries which do not have high subsidies.
And this will not be good for the rakyat as investors provide investments and job opportunities.
Investors also provide a positive sentiment to other investors about Malaysia.
And this will attract other investors to come to Malaysia.
So oil and gas and water subsidies must go.
The rakyat will not get their dividends
By asking Petronas and Tenaga to lower charges, Pakatan Harapan is asking them to subsidise.
Tenaga and Petronas cannot subsidise as it will make losses.
And in the long term, Tenaga and Petronas will collapse.
And when both companies make losses, it cannot pay dividends to shareholders.
This is because one of Tenaga’s shareholders is Permodalan Nasional Berhad which manages Amanah Saham Nasional and Amanah Saham Bumiputera.
When Tenaga can’t pay dividends, the rakyat will also not receive money.
And when the rakyat can’t receive their dividends, they can’t spend and contribute to the economy.
So in the end, both the country and the rakyat will lose out.
Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto will not benefit the rakyat
It is clear that Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto will not benefit the rakyat.
Some of its manifestoes such as helping army veterans, give bonus to civil servants and make Islam as the number one religion are already implemented by the Barisan Nasional government.
So the rakyat must think carefully before they vote at the upcoming general elections.
The rakyat must look at both the Barisan Nasional’s manifesto as well as the Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto before they make their decision.
Choose a manifesto which is more logical and benefits the rakyat.
Don’t choose a manifesto which is unrealistic and full of false hopes.