The right of reply

Enough is enough. People who proclaim to fight for freedom of expression and free media but censors other's legitimate reply based on their whims and fancy, must realise that on the internet, they cannot suppress peoples' legitimate right to reply and express contrarian views. This blog welcomes all views. ~ Ellese

Direct or indirect subsidies?


Past few days have been interesting. I’ve been called to give some talk and the articulation of issues herein have been helpful. It became more interesting trying to explain the issues to ordinary people as most are just confused with propagandas. Thus thought of restating some of the stand.


BR1M cannot be by any extension of any meaning be corruption. Or is it “Lu Tolong Gua or Gua Tolong Lu”. If it is then PR is also corrupt and practice Lu Tolong Gua.

PR in their manifestos has allocated billions of direct handout. This is similar to BN. Anyone says otherwise must get their heads check. :-). But seriously same act must have similar value. Any other interpretation is hypocritical. The issue on direct handout is what is the limit for this. However I much prefer less handout but if we can afford it I’m not so against giving the money to people.

As a principle I think any handout must be direct to targeted group. I’ve been recommending to the government for a while for direct handout. Indirect subsidy does not only misallocate resources but does not benefit the target group.

For example, the petrol subsidy. We compare one who has a Mercedes 500 S (I’m a Beemer fan :-)) and one who has meager income who only owns a motorcycle (kapchai) and takes public transportation to work. Now the car of 5000 cc will definitely consume more petrol than the motorbike. The Merc owner does not need the subsidy but he benefitted most. The one needing it is the one who uses the bus but he does not benefit the subsidy.

It’s similar with electric and water subsidies. A house with a swimming pool will definitely consume more electricity and water than one small PPR flat for ordinary citizens. Why should the former benefit from the subsidy than the one who has a small dwelling.

And to compound the matter, when we lower utility charges we make it cheaper than it is and people use it wastefully. As a result we have systemic problem like our water industry where there’s not enough money to sustain a proper operation resulting in a high non resource water (NRW). So we lose up to 50% of production. We haven’t changed the tariff for years and some in decades. And people don’t appreciate it pun. It’s too cheap. Look at the waste. But if you charge they appreciate. Look at how much they’re willing to pay for mineral water. By paying the same amount for water tariff instead of mineral water, they could have 1000 times more of drinkable water. This misallocation of water should be stopped.

So going forward we must decrease indirect subsidies and increase the direct subsidies.

This is where PR totally got it wrong and spin ridiculous populist position. It says its concerned with the well being of those ordinary people. But if you see their promise of cutting down utilities price and abandon all this direct subsidies to all those income below certain salary like Br1m (they even call this corrupt practices), it will affect ordinary Malaysians more and enrich further the rich. The ordinary people need to know this.


94 thoughts on “Direct or indirect subsidies?

  1. Congratulations!

    Finally comes to your sense to talk about some issues much better than the DOZEN of your personal attack posts.

    You give a talk? Where lah… Can I come to “support”?

    Good things should be shared mah…

  2. “The ordinary people need to know this.” too:

    Ellese as usual, you hentam PR again and leaving out BN, you boss. As a highly virtuous person, you know you have to be fair on your comment. You also must hentam UMNO kuat kuat also. What not even a single thing on UMNO? The philosophy and the right thing to do is to whack the ruling party whoever they might BN or PR. Hence, my preference is to whack BN until when we change government then my target is switch to PR. Ellese, if you succeeded in whacking PR until they see the light from heaven, to me is the same shit day in day out. There is NO change in my life because UMNO is still in power. This which you have FAILED to understand many times over. Seperti meludah ke langit.

    Now, come to the topic. It is an excellent write up I agree with the concept wholly. If Ellese had censor all matters related to PR which UMNO is equally guilty of, it is a perfect write. So, I have to learn to read between the lines. Ellese is just hoping to hoodwink the kampung folks.

    Direct subsidies is the answer and it is more effective. Indirect subsidies is needed, when we are not able to segregate those who have, from those who have not.

    Here is what UMNO is guilty of, subsidies that intentionally enriching the rich.

    1. Approve Permit (AP) – Need I to say more, all given to the cronies to enrich themselves and not to the poor entrepreneur. Anyway to me is a bad scheme or shall I call it a scam at the Rakyat expense.

    2. 7% discount for house purchase – Well, do those Datuks and Datins deserve a discount?

    As for the utility traffic, it is already done for water and electric. It is the correct way of doing it but the rates is not right. The first to third tier tariff category, the rates are not low enough. There is substantial complaints on the electric bills. When technology improves, more items runs on electricity or batteries. Now, we have induction cooker compare to gas stove, which is safer. More electric oven than gas oven. People are switching from Telekom lines to mobile phones. There is no pro-active measures to look into these tariff.

    The system is there, but there just no will to adjust it to the people whom deserve them. Giving BR1M is easier to convince a potential voter to be influence on his/her voting preferences. If the subsides is in the system of distribution among the have not and the have, the impact of populist is lessen. Both BN and PR is playing it. Well, I am not complaining, just let the ball roll. That is politics.

    I agree on the suggestion for petrol, I have to disagree on the same method to be used on sugar , flour, rice and cooking oil.

    • Eh not bad man. This is one of the few times I don’t wholly disagree with you. πŸ™‚

      On pr and bn I’ve written many times before the primary duty of modern leaders is the improvement of our quality of life. You don’t recognise many things which I consider fundamental. Integrity is important but again you know my view that our politicians are the same unless we change the incentives and disincentives in politics. This is going to be a long topic. So we just depart ajelah or read my write for a number of years. Anyway if you want to hentam bn its up to you but I will focus on the acts itself.

      On AP there’s no subsidy. On discount its not a subsidy from government. Don’t know how you derive subsidy.

      On subsidy we must have a firm consistent stand. Can agree with your write on the same. But I think the tariff for water and electricity must be much higher. For water, its barely sufficient to pay for opex. No money at all for capex. On electricity the fuel subsidy must flow through. Why we need to do this? I remember when I stayed overseas, I was always mindful of electricity usage. We use it when needed. But once in Malaysia, because its still cheap we switch on things we don’t use also. I’m clear we need to increase the tariff and set this off this with direct subsidies for ordinary folks.

  3. wave, i suppose i can comment now πŸ™‚

    just add on to your point 1) bn continue the indirect subsidy, hence criticism toward pr proposal shd apply to bn and 2) a lower petrol price might have greater impact to lower inflation. perhaps we can impose other type of tax toward the rich one like those beemer fan πŸ™‚

    • HY

      Alas, lower car prices will be a reality soon by 2015 with AFTA. Beemers of the 3 series are assembled in Thailand and will come to us cheaper. Ellese will sure buy a new beemer then.. Whoever is in Govt must adhere since we are signatory to AFTA.

      But to enjoy other models of beemers, we must wait for a PR Govt to lower Excise Duties and also manage the APs.

      • Agree. But on car policy I think we need to have a clear stand.

        The objective of the car policy should not be to achieve cheaper cars. I think we should have less cars on the road and more public transport. There’s so much highway we can build. Now if people wants no toll there’s so much government money to build highways. With cheaper cars and slow growth on highway construction it leads only to one damning conclusion. More and worse jam affecting our quality of life.

        We must change the incentives and disincentives of car driving to change the people’s utilization of transport. We still can’t get it right. With populist policy we simply get deeper into the rut.

        I agree with Jala on this. He is clear. I can accept mustafa lowering of tax because of afta, but disagree with the spin to compete with pr, they give expectation rakyat entitled to cheaper cars. Of course I disagree on pr policy of lowering car price and reducing further the fuel price. This is most irresponsible.

        Both bn and pr must be responsible. Tell the rakyat going forward we need to reduce cars. Building highways with toll is the most efficient and fair tax structure. I also say we need to increase toll on certain highways. It makes no sense that all our highways are jammed. We need some tweaking in highway policy.

    • HY,

      I agree with you, that we have to tax those beemer fan, as high as possible. Any luxury car for the matter. Perhaps in terms of road tax and excise duty of luxury car, to go as high as possible. With the high road tax and excise duty on luxury car, the collection could offset the subsidies in petrol. The revenue from road tax for luxury car is a yearly basis which able to reduce the subsidies given to petrol.

      For that, some of the beemer fans really have to work extra hard to chase after their dreams, maybe being a politician will help in their income. Automatically, those beemer fans would be disqualified to have the 7% discount on house purchase and no AP would be given to them. Further to that RM200,000 limit to invest in ASB would be forfeited immediately.

      How is that for direct subsidies?

      I am sure Ellese would agree on it.

      • :-). Jangan can tu.

        Actually wave, i believe the car tax is infinitesimal to the petrol subsidy.

        I propose congestion tax. All major cities around the world does this. But first we must have more connectivity by rail/bts/ other modes. Also provide shades shades and plenty of shades. I’m for more mrt/ bts etc.

        • I agree too. There is a balance to strike. Better public transport will encourage lesser cars on the road. The congestion tax is like the way Singapore does it for cars to pay to enter into the CBD.

          But first, get our public transport to top notch and the rest will follow.

    • Hehehe. You can impose tax on all cars except Beemer and proton.:-)

      Just joking. We don’t have to increase tax. In fact on balance of thing we can maintain or lower this to offset higher inflation. My understanding with LHDN is that they can increase more tax by improving efficiency and enforcement. In fact I call for VAT to replace Service tax. I must qualify I’ve not done my Maths and more of a feel. May be we can debate further on this.

      On indirect subsidy its a criticism on bn also and bn has acknowledged this and moving towards reducing dependence. My view is that we should have pushed further. PR need to support this and not aggravate further the problems. But politics being politics we disagree for the sake of disagreement.

      • I am all out to increase excise duties on all luxury car and double up the road tax for these car. Government need this revenue for the subsidies on petrol.

        I would like to add on the social aspect of doing so. Now car loan repayment plan has been extended to 9 years duration. That makes luxury car affordable for the middle class with repayment plan below RM3,000 per month. There are just too many beemer on the road. There are just too many show off from networkers in MLM, insurance and unit trust industry. You just need RM3,000 a month to show off. It all made possible with 9 years duration with low interest rate loan repayment plan. I have no quarrel with those whom CAN really afford it, but not with those whom live in a rented house and eats nasi lemak every day, so they can show off with their limited budget.

        All luxury products should be highly taxed. We have to tax the rich and give it to the poor. I was disappointed when corporate tax was reduce, it is even lower than individual tax. Does it sound logic? Even bizarre that Lynas do not need to pay tax.

        With these, we can increase our country revenue and decrease our deficits for more BR1Ms to come.

        • Biarlah. Jangan jealous. πŸ™‚

          I think you did too much direct comparison which doesn’t make fair argument.

          First in our country, we have a high tax bracket threshold. Many already not paying tax. On top of this they get direct subsidies. I’m more for direct subsidies but my issue is the limit.

          On businesses I always think we must be competitive. We need to strike a balance. Function of an economy is to create employment for the people. Here we use our comparative advantage. In fact if you get it right by lowering tax, you get more tax as there’s growth. Too high a tax like France (80%) creates a different disincentives for the people not benefitting France. Singapore is a good model of low tax country which generates positive growth.

          Again much to write but disagree big time with you. Sorry bro its too populist to benefit us. Jangan marah…..

          • Lower car prices should not put more cars on the road. It should help car owners to have a smaller loan burden and smaller monthly repayment.

            Ellese is not about to get 3 beemers but change his for a newer one.

            Tax brackets must be managed for competitiveness for corporate tax. Personal income tax for Malaysia is too high with little social returns. Watch out for a health tax coming when BN wins to help in health insurance schemes. This is expected to be up to an additional 10%.

            I like the Singapore tax model too. Hopefully whoever runs the Govt will take note.

          • :-). But I’ll buy one for my daughter son and may be …..maid. No lah, with car being affordable everyone in a household now owns cars. I went to a number of PPRs and tell you there’s not enough parking space. One household has more than 2 cars. This is in PPR man. Though must admit they’re old cars.

            To me cars should not be made cheaper. Our roads can’t handle it. I pay toll and still get stuck in a jam. I even think our toll pricing is too cheap since everyone uses the highway.

            I agree with you on public transport. I like the free Go KL. its a good idea. My main problem with our planning thinking is that we don’t provide natural tree shades which are cooling. We cut trees ikut suka hati aje. I don’t favour that much concrete shades though the current one in KL do look quite nice.

          • Well, you are one of those who can afford it.

            People in PPR would rather not have a debt in car loan if the public transport is very good. Data shows that a significant part of household debt comprise of car loans, house loans and credit cards.

      • I have stated my position on disagreeing with your views on direct and indirect subsidies below.

        I agree that there is a need for a broad based tax and a faster way to collect them in the form of the GST implementation. Most people working don’t pay tax. I understand up to 80% don’t pay tax or don’t qualify to pay tax. Maybe it is not that high but that’s what been portrayed.

        The Govt needs the money and faster too. However, the GST implementation is complex. People who don’t pay tax suddenly have to pay consumption tax without a growth in wages is going to be very tough. And GST is applied to Customs tax table, so even abalone is exempted from GST. This is unfortunate.

        Essentially, it is hoped that there is not a reason for traders to broadly increase prices and be transparent to pass the tax to the consumer. If it is confused with the removal of subsidies for petrol and sugar, we are all doomed.

        Again, removal of subsidies should be done as a last resort and to minimize the negative impact to the people. Find income else where, save unnecessary expenses, remove corruption, remove reliance on monopolistic middle men, etc. and find ways to grow wages and productivity.

        The difference in position between PR and BN is not in the removal of subsidies but the timing and manner of removing them. We can debate this too.

        • Can agree. But pr stand on further indirect subsidies are telling. It should be the other way around. I think its too populist detrimental to us.

          On gst, my current understanding is that the gst has a net effect like service tax. People can increase price for whatever reasons. But its a much better form of collection.

          Growth can be supported with internal debts. We had discussions on this already. We need to be selective.

          On savings on corruption, I need to put a bigger picture. Suggest you read hishamH article on this. There’s not much room for savings as claimed by many. That’s why even with tony Phua rafizi etc taking account of the corruption savings it still has deficit budget. That’s the big pictures. The claims of huge substantial savings to me is farcical.

          Having said that any cost savings should be encouraged including eliminating corruption. My position on this is more straightforward. We have less bureaucracy and improve delivery. By increasing kpi there’s no need to bribe anymore. And this method benefits us directly. For example cutting down business and planning licenses and requirements. If delivery is the same for all, it will elimate corruption substantially.

          • Strangely, we have more in agreement than disagreement at this point.

            The PR position is that they will need RM40B to finance the goodies. They claim that BN goodies will cost far more especially with the BR1M going up to RM1,200.

            PR feels that given the Penang and Selangor situations of savings that across the board on Federal spending they can find savings of up to RM50B.

            Avoidance of corruption must start at the top with proper governance processes and public civic mindedness.

            Yes, once bureaucracy and delivery is improved with civil servants really behaving as servants, we will get there.

        • Another thing is that removal of subsidies must be done in conjunction with direct subsidies and not as last resort. There won’t be any buy in nanti. We can time and do it to have the least most impact. But to do it much after introducing the direct subsidies, is too suicidal for any politicians.

  4. Ellese

    I can agree and also disagree with you and here goes.

    1. BR1M is not corruption. On the surface, it is similar to PR giving help to elderly, free 20 cubic meters of water to Selangor households, RM2,500 funeral assistance for Selangorians, etc.

    It is the politicizing of BR1M where Umno, MIC, MCA and Gerakan politicans do the speeches and handouts. It is the politicians who give out the vouchers to students. The political logos, letters, speeches accompanying BR1M makes it an implicit bargain. If you want to give, just give because this is the people’s money, not Umno, MCA, MIC or Gerakan. PR does not do this. They just give with no politicizing.

    Now, BN is promising to raise BR1M from RM500 to RM1,200 over the next 5 years. That will mean the Govt will give handouts of serious billions of RM every year, even up to RM11 billion at RM1,200 per household. Is this a good use of Govt money?

    To the really needy, this is a positive impact. To most others, it is excess cash for a big meal or a holiday. Perhaps the general disbursement is also a problem without an effective benefit to the really poor households. Herein lies the problem of execution where many members of a single house address enjoys BR1M – the grandmother, the mother, the daughter, etc. – so how do you define a household? Maybe just finding out the really poor and giving them RM1,200 works better than giving everybody who applies the money. The key is TARGETED and is in the execution.

    2. I too agree to less handout. It must be targeted with the best impact to really help the people who really needs it and also to enable them to be independent.

    3. There were just too many handouts in the 2013 budget from BR1M, student book vouchers, handphone subsidies, single women assistance, all in one go. BR1M in both stages already cost RM4 billion at the least given in less than 12 months. This implies that the economy is not doing well and even more households income of under RM3,000 per month. This is an election year budget to give out goodies. The Govt just can’t afford to give out billions of RM every year like this.

    4. I disagree that indirect subsidy does not benefit the people. Both types of subsidies are needed as instruments for social and economic fine tuning of the country. It is about how much, who, and how it is done for the biggest positive impact of the benefits.

    5. Water subsidy that the Selangor Govt made was 20 cubic meters enough for a regular household, not for swimming pool bungalows. And people in Selangor loved it. Now it is in the BN manifesto for Selangor. Obviously, you are not aware that this is not for wasting water and not for commercial purpose. In fact, it is difficult for households in apartments and condominiums to enjoy because the JMB had linked their bills with management contributions. Slowly, this is being unraveled.

    6. Petrol subsidy example of benefiting the rich using big cars vs people using motorcycles is a poor illustration. Malaysia has been subsidizing petrol for the longest time to keep the price artificially low. I agree that subsidies like this will have to be remove one day to reflect the true value of goods. However, petrol prices have a direct impact on consumer goods prices and gives traders the excuse to raise prices even if it has no direct bearing. Hence, removal of petrol subsidy without balancing the wage equation is dangerous and makes the people suffer and is not because of their motorcycles. Elese spouts economics and this point is strangely overlooked.

    7. PR promises to lower petrol prices if they come to power. Najib just said that it is better to do BR1M than lower petrol prices. We can argue this out if you want to. Lowering petrol prices now does not guarantee a lowering of consumer goods prices but it does have a positive effect to cause this to happen, especially if there is a policy to keep petrol prices down. However, the Govt will have to find income in other ways. PR has a strategy to doing this. We can debate it if you want.

    8. Water wastage due to lack of money to maintain equipment – this is a perenial Syabas problem. Water loss at 30% is totally unacceptable. Paying Syabas CEO RM400,000 a month is also unacceptable. Giving 20 cubic meters of water does not cause people to waste water. So the maintenance must be tackled in a more conscientious and responsible way and is not caused by giving free water.

    9. Agree that utility tariff is backdated. However, the question is TNB making losses? Where else can TNB improve its earnings besides raising tariff? It is in the IPP contracts that is hurting TNB raising the cost of production beyond what TNB can do itself. I happen to know that many parts of TNB has an impeccable discipline for governance and I salute their management for the large part. Procurement in many areas is very professional and very clean but I dare not give a blanket approval because I do not know everything.

    10. I will debate with you on your claims that PR’s manifesto is worse than BN’s manifesto. But that is irrelevant. I am not a PR fan nor a BN fan. Let’s debate what is right and then push for it.

    11. I am for the Govt to find ways to lift productivity and wages of Malaysians to be at least in line with the real inflation and to cut down on subsidies and remove corruption. I also support any Govt to remove hardcore poverty across the country. Being poor has no racial barriers. And all Malaysians will support this.

    • Very sensible write. I also agree and disagree with some points. I will however try to engage again with you and hope we don’t go the way of the past. I ask you to understand where I come from.

      Many points you raise but I need to sort out the value behind br1m criticism.

      As a value, I’ve always wrote that all politicians without exception have defective values which we shouldn’t follow. We must always check and recheck the values of their action. And how we measure this is always to see what value we want to inculcate in our children.

      I think as a parental value, we must always appreciate effort and if we benefit from them we must always say thank you. Thus children must always appreciate what the parents do (even though defective) and say thank you to them notwithstanding its the parents obligations to provide. To impart other values are simply wrong to me.

      Following from here, we inculcate in our children appreciation of efforts especially when they receive the benefit. Thus, we teach our children to appreciate say efforts of our army or even the traffic cop who manages the traffic under the hot sun notwithstanding they are paid to do it. Its just right and good manners.

      This is where I depart from many of you. Every effort done by government (be it bn or pr) should be recognised despite they’re being paid. We dont be selective. I’ve been involved in some neac meetings last time, and really appreciate how people propose ideas and solutions. Also appreciate how government servants push to implement this. Its an incredible effort. And for that I have major issues with politicians and followers to dismiss this effort on the basis that its their duty and have been paid for it.

      These criticism devalues the efforts for the sake of partisanship. This is wrong. Worse we don’t know what we want and make hypocritical stand. For example, many don’t realise it was an effort to create domestic growth engine in view of unfavorable worldwide economic environment. The ETP and Pemandu i thought was exemplary in their effort and should praise them rather than ridiculing it on insignificant point. So we know what stand we take. But now we condemn ETP but offered no new domestic growth engine. I think this value is wrong and simply condemn what is good for us.

      But that doesn’t mean we can’t criticise. We can and we should on the policy or execution shortcomings thereof. But we don’t criticise by saying its your job to do it so we don’t appreciate it. Thus I have no problem bn claiming brim as their initiatives and so rightly take recognition of it. Similarly with pr initiatives as they now tout everywhere. As a rakyat we want both bn and pr to compete for our benefit. No one should be excuse for non performance. The argument that an effort should not be recognised on the basis that its one’s duty or job is just plain wrong for me.

      • I feel that BR1M has been a big BN politicized effort. I disagree because it is tax payers money. Giving direct money is not good. Giving in kind is better because it cost less and have a much higher perceived value without abuse.

        Asking people to vote for BN because of BR1M is ridiculous. It is like taking your money and I give to your children and have them thank me for it. A public servant is to serve the public. Our Govt is to serve us, not to threaten or blackmail us. We appreciate them and we will vote them back without them telling us.

        PR gives far more in the PR states but they do right by not telling the people to vote them because of what they gave back to the people. If the people does not appreciate it, the people knows what to do on 5th May.

        Yes, both should compete for the people’s attention and benefit. But make sure it is sensible and not a political statement. It is their public duty.

  5. Now when TNB changes the meters and the utility bills grows by 30%, that is a significant problem. It results in household losing effective spending money to TNB instead of paying for the ever increasing prices of chicken, beef, sugar, oil and flour.

    • Of all the utilities, TNB seems to have better parity. Water sewage and fuel pricing is to me out of whack too far or . In energy the tariff has been able to cover opex and capex save for fuel.

      This fuel subsidy in particular gas should be passed down. Now Petronas is bearing the subsidy. As we face further shortage, Petronas now has to import gas based on market price. (See their regassification plant) Its becoming non sensical if Petronas suffer loses on this. Previously they forfeited their gains of market value. But as resource allocation its also not right. Once because of this subsidy, we have more gas fired plants. As a result we dispatch more gas fired plant energy resulting further use of gas, shorten the gas supply and allocate higher subsidy.

      So I find its better now that TNB is sharing some cost of gas after Petronas complaining. But there’s so much both can sustain without passing it down.

      This is where I find PR criticism on the energy sector that IPP enjoys subsidy is plain wrong. Its TNB enjoying the subsidy and Petronas baring the cost. Pr is wholly irresponsible for such criticism and reflects pure ignorance. Been writing on this for a while already.

      On the issue of affecting cost of living, it will surely do. But this is where I depart. Many seems to think that the only way to keep cost low is by aggravating this subsidy policy. This subsidy mentality approach needs to be turned as you see that our utilities structure is becoming unsustainable and our resource allocation for our children becomes too far out of whack.

      The way to do it is by increasing growth. Replacing indirect with direct subsidy. And doing this methodically and gradually so that rakyat doesn’t feel too much burden. We can keep the inflation in check. We know an approach is not sustainable so we find solutions. Thus again I’m very appreciative of the etp which sets out the specific income growth. Its more organized and structured. Nevertheless I know you thumb etp but i think many fail to see the end goal and objectives that we argue for the sake of arguing. I have to say this and find your previous argument on this unacceptable. Perhaps we should just depart here. There’s much to write here.

      • Ellese

        PR does not complain about IPP enjoying gas subsidies. The overall contracts of phase 1 and phase 2 IPPs make way too much money and many have cashed out by issuing bonds. Many of the IPP contracts are one sided for themselves. IPPs are selling power at a higher cost than TNB can produce itself. So there is work to be done to review these contracts.

        Sure the subsidy strategy must be reviewed so that crony monopolies do not benefit at the peril of the people and when done must be managed to effect the best value without affecting inflation.

        Generally speaking, the ETP concept is good. Given my MNC background, that’s how we do things. But this is a Govt program and the processes and systems do not work the same way. I think this is applying good concepts to ill equipped Govt environment. Perhaps if the Govt system, processes, etc is fixed that MNC concepts of ETP will work really well with better buy in from the private sector and the public.

  6. By the way, SMS has made its way to many people …. “Jika anda terima BR1M RM500, semestikah anda mengundi Barisan Nasional sebagai tanda terima kasih?” …. so BR1M is not a bait to fish for votes? I guess by putting it into a question one can escape from the guilt.

    • Its fine in terms of values. It has similar values like pr in selangor did on their various billboards, asking the people to appreciate their efforts. More direct is the spin pr had when they have direct help. My most quoted example is using selangor fund for Sarawak schools during pr Sarawak campaign. Pr told the world that how pr helped across and many appreciated and praised that. Here its a clear wrong and abuse but its being praised. Its funny. We must recheck values all the times with these politicians.

      • I disagree the way PR used Selangor funds for other states but I guess it is their prerogative.

        In the new world, there must be more powers and funds to the State Govts regardless which political party runs them. The proportion of tax derived from each state must be given back to their prerogative use somehow.

        BR1M politicizing by BN has gone too far. I do not disagree each party trying to blow the trumpet for their good works but this SMS thingy has gone bezerk. Do it within reasonable boundaries. How much did BN spend on public money to publicize BR1M? Too much in my opinion.

  7. β€œperhaps we can impose other type of tax toward the rich one like those beemer fan”. +1 πŸ™‚

    I suggest that we should increase taxes on luxury goods and non essential goods and foods too.

    I would also suggest free meals for the poor β€˜makan nasi dalam dulang aje… satu dulang lima orang’ and we eat with our claws.

    β€œAlas, lower car prices will be a reality soon by 2015 with AFTA.”

    Before we have our national car project – Honda Accord was about RM30K. Mitsubishi Pajero was about RM27K; Ford Escort was about RM23K. Twenty-five years later the cheapest car now is Viva which is about RM30K.

    I go to kedai mamak I can afford only to minum Kopi O aje… itu pun mintak satu gelas kosong kerana nak share dengan my spouse. Mintak BRIM kena rejected. Dah nasib badan. πŸ™‚

    • hasan,

      There are already cheap meals for vegetarians. It cost only RM2.00 to RM2.50 per meal.
      Sometimes comes with free sky juice. A plate of rice with three types of vegetable dishes.

      I am not sure whether it is suitable for muslims. There is no sembelih since it is vegetarian but the cooks are mostly non-muslims.

      I do not find many muslim going there, perhaps some ulamak can give a green light, that would increase muslim patrons to these shops.

      hasan, would you like to survey one near your place. If it is okay, please provide your location.

      • Wave33,

        I lived around TARC area. By the way I heard that you are a good Samaritan who donates about RM5.0M annually… Please give a bit of ‘zakat’ to me la… I will vote for you.. ma. πŸ˜€

        • Really wave,

          I will vote for you as well.:-D. 5M is a generous contribution. Good of you.

        • Here is the location.

          Foh Yuen Vegetarian Food
          Jalan Metro Wangsa, Wangsa Maju
          GPS: 3.204983,101.736258

          It has been a long time I have not been there. Hope it is still operational. Many of these outlets are not able to sustain and have since closed down, unless they have high volume of sales. Like the one near Kelana Jaya LRT is doing pretty good business.

          Those shop in front of TARC is very cheap too but those are only for non-muslims.

          • Technically vegetarian should be halal 100%.

          • I would need your input on this matter.
            Some say the food handler, waiter and cook has to be muslim.

          • There’s a perception issue to handle as well. But the food as long as you do have halal ingredient it should be alright.

          • Just for interest, what ingredients & oils they use to cook the vegs with? Perhaps they just boil them with plain sky juice.

          • hussin,

            There are least ten dishes to choose from. It is best that you drop by at the address or GPS given above to interrogate the cook and owner.

            Disclaimer: I am not liable to what ingredients, oils or holly water that they use.

            Bon Appetit!

          • Dear Wave33,

            Thanks very much. I will check it out.

            But my problem is I am 100% gluten intolerance. Wheat is like poison to me. Most vegetarian foods are wheat based.

            I have worked and lived in 18 countries and the best for me is Australia where there is plenty of gluten free food stuff. Gluten free products are available here at Cold Storage but they are very expensive. No subsidy. 😦

            I think Malaysia is still the best country to live. ‘Hujan emas di negeri orang dan hujan batu di negeri sendiri, baik lagi hujan batu di negeri sendiri’ – true to the last letter.

            Ellese is strangely very mellowed in this blogpost of his. I feel a little horny, aren’t you? πŸ™‚

          • Hasan

            You are so cute. You getting horny and all that…hahaha! I find myself having more agreements than disagreements with Ellese too.

            Vegetarian foods in Malaysia is way too oily for me. They use a lot of soya bean. And they try to mimic real meat foods. That’s my problem with them.

            But I couldn’t agree with you more. Malaysia is a great place to live with foods that I can’t get enough with. And at the most unearthly hours too.

          • Wave33… for old times sake. This is one of your favourite I guess..

          • Thanks hasan,

            It is a reminder. Good for politicians.

          • no wonder his handle is ‘ellese’, sort of double personality πŸ™‚

          • Perli my name ke? πŸ™‚ It has a meaning but I prefer to keep it confidential.

          • Your nick is neither French or Italian. Your own invention?

          • Are you serious HY…? Brings back so much of my past. Some was worth the memory, some was not.

            ‘Honey’ by Bobby Goldsboro reminds me of somebody whom I care so much. My eyes are always cloudy when I listen to that song. I just listen to it. Yup… still cloudy.

        • Wave33

          Wow you do the 5M and I will vote for you too…LOL πŸ˜€

    • Hasan

      I too share your concern. I only go to mamak for teh tarik and roti kosong which will cost me RM2.80.

      I just came back from the mamak and had another shock of my life. Maggi goreng is now RM5.00 and I fell off my chair.


      • Noted. But worse is that I find many of late willing even to buy coffee at RM10++. Food at restaurants of rm20 ++ per dish is full.

        This demand is interesting. Coffee bean, Starbucks, are mushrooming everywhere. Similar with many chained kopitiams. I go to malls at one utama klcc midvalley etc etc and am amazed how people willing to pay for this. More perplexing for me is the mineral water where we can get ais kosong at much cheaper price.

        There seems to be insatiable demands for this even out of town. I can find Mc D as well. There’s cheaper burger Ramli.

        Funny these Malaysians. Because of these demands people push the price higher. If no buyer no one will price this out.

        Do you frequent them?

        • This are yuppie generation, spend all you can, same as beemer fan whom takes a max out 9 year loan. I have to thank them for economy boom. There is a boom in consumer section ONLY.

          But the economy at large is not that well.

        • go starbuck not more than twice a year, only when i have discount voucher. i rarely go any of these charge me rm6 n above for one coffee chain. in fact i dont eat at mamak except teh tarik n roti, it is too costly for me. i am almost zero debt but i hate it when people charge me exorbitantly without sense. i have no intention to get any replacement for my 8 years car unless tukar govt. i use my nokia 6300 for 7 years and only get a replacement at less than rm800. however i spend at least rm1-2k to buy books per annum, until i realise i have difficulty to read the tiny character, i get a ipad mini (btw, i cant enlarge my ipad font in right to reply, i dun know if that is my problem or ellese’s setting) to replece paper book. similar to u people, i cant understand where the hell this people earn their money to drink at starbuck and pub. perhaps a matter of values and taste, i dont mind spend money for good food.

          • Interesting person you are. Thanks for info.

            My friends always tell me I have old phones. I skip at least two generations before changing. Now I know I’m not alone.

          • HY

            I plan to change my 12 year old car if there is a change of Govt πŸ˜‰

            By the way, it is the setting of this theme that fonts can’t be changed.

    • Hasan

      The main problem with rising car prices is the protectionism of Proton. So they play with AP, Import Duty, Excise Duty and Sale Tax. Hopefully, over time, we get the car prices to a fairer level. It can’t happen overnight.

    • Cuba lah menu 1M. πŸ™‚

      Seriously I agree to your suggestion. I depart only in car prices. I disagree with the APs but by having cheaper cars leads to more cars and worse quality of life.

      • Mahathir would not allow it. That means sales of Proton is going to suffer. It is a policy to enrich oneself.

      • I also disagree to more cars on the road but people buy cars now because there is no good public transport. Cheaper car prices do not translate to more cars. You are not about to go get another loan to buy another car but you will want to sell your car to take an equivalent loan to buy a better car. Or buy a cheaper car of the same type. Either way, it is a better bang for the buck.

        But with better public transport, whether LRT, bus, taxi, trams, etc just make it happen and please don’t have stops in God forsaken areas and make people walk a mile to connect their journey in the hot sun.

        I always take public transport when living in overseas. It is only in Malaysia that I choose public transport last. Hopefully, this will change in the next few years when the LRT completes the extensions.

  8. “Cheaper car prices do not translate to more cars.”

    me think the same, but of course after we achieve certain lever of car ownership. cheaper cars mean we have excess fund for education, travel to 18 countries, be a good samaritan, take good food and buy good book, go starbuck twice a day, i would say all this are better life quality, not worst unless we insist to buy beemer with a viva income.

    • A policy of reducing a price will be followed with an increase in quantity. Its been like this. Some may just change cars but some will buy more cars.

      • Will you buy more cars or change cars?

        • If its cheap I want to buy another cheaper car with less maintenance cost for weekend use. It will reduce the current car usage which has higher maintenance cost.

          • That is what most people will do. Get rid of the car loan of get a better car with the same debt but not get an extra debt just because the price of cars are lower.

            Nevertheless, better public transport will keep most of the cars at home for leisure rather than essential.

          • It cannot work. When cars are cheaper the car you want to sell is also cheaper. Who wants to buy your car if new car is cheaper?

            Lower car price is good for those who hasn’t got a car, who wants to buy further car or replace a very old car which has no/ very low value or no loan.

            But if everyone starts thinking of selling their current car for new car which is cheaper, its just not practical. Who wants to buy your current car? At what price? Is it economical to pay off the current loan which is loaded upfront with interest? What about topping up the value of the car and loan outstanding?

          • Perhaps you are right when used cars will have a lower resale value. Lower car prices will mean lower car loans and more disposable income not locked into repayment of these loans.

            If they can take public transport, they won’t need a car. Or car pool? Great ideas but not doable. Just fix the damn public transport. That’s the Govt’s job and they are not doing it right at all. We are regressing instead. Will this spawn a debate? πŸ˜‰

          • That I can agree. Public transport is key together as I always say shades, (natural preferred).

            The one we have is not bad. They’ve upgraded certain lines. But we need more rail connectivity. And of course more pedestrian shades. On buses we just can’t get it on time. Dont know why. But the newer buses are comfortable. We also need to get more cars off the roads by disincentives.

            Jala I thought makes so much sense. We spend on train infra. We can use local debt to defray this. However if you propose bts or other means I’m also amenable. Main focus we get it off the ground.

    • HY… you are a very clever boy. πŸ˜€

  9. Food’s essential ingredients has to be subsides or else there would be a chain reaction towards inflation. A very big portion of our income goes to food. Family without LED TV, is no big deal but without sufficient affordable food, it would be critical. Have you heard of children eating rocks?
    Basic ingredient such as flour, sugar and cooking oil should be under control.

    My benchmark is the price of roti canai and teh tarik. The mamak control these.

    There was a big outcry, not too long ago when prices of these staple food increased. It gives other hawkers the malay and chinese the green light to increase their food price too. Office workers in the center of KL city are not able to sustain their livelihood, if their surround area do not have SUPPORTING eatery, such as cafeteria, food court, mobile van, makeshift stalls and back lane food heaven. Many business offices location that do not have the supporting public transport, eatery and affordable parking rates will find difficulty employing staff.

    Subsides helps our cost of living low until a time when we can remove it, certainly not in the near future.

    I love telling people about getting a good meal with just RM2.50. You be surprise, many still do not know that such restaurant do exist. These restaurant need publicity for doing a good deed.

    I also love telling people which restaurant charge exorbitant prices. Sekinchan Ikan Bakar?

    • Wave33

      Try the Kari Kepala Ikan Merdeka Stadium near Yap Kwan Seng…without RM200 cash, better stay away πŸ˜‰

      Anyway, all mamak serving briyani etc cost a bomb.

      • But funny thing is Mamak is doing extremely well even until wee hours in the morning. It has become a Malaysian institution.

        • There is where Malaysian staple food is. Nasi kandar or nasi campur aside (there is where the mamak would slaughter you), it is cheaper than any Malay or Chinese restaurant. It helps a lot of Malaysian whom are below middle class to go through their monthly expenses. Here is where, you get free air suam, you will never get it from Chinese restaurant. We have to thank those mamak for supporting the lower income bracket, instead of those troublemakers in Penang whom are infamous for.

          Mid range food, I would say Chinese food is in the lead with the most reasonable price.

  10. I enjoy eating and Malay, Indian and Chinese foods are fantastic in Malaysia. The prices have gone up considerably in the past few years.

    Check the prices for chicken, eggs, sugar, flour, cooking oil, rice, beef, mutton….wow almost doubled in some cases. The mamaks and coffee shops cannot help moving prices up.

    Here’s where we come back to the topic if this posting. Direct or indirect subsidies for such things?

  11. Ellese

    Looks like the discussion is moving away from direct and indirect subsidies. Perhaps one on public transport?

    Before we close on this one, the direct assistance in many other countries will tax the people and afford the social security to those that needs it, eg out of job, etc. and not across the board like BR1M.

    Also book voucher is hopeless because they are always abused. Better to contribute to PTA and other fees still active. Make the ringgit work and not abused.

    • I have to disagree. Br1M has a means test and not across the board.

      Other countries have social welfare funding based on means test.

      My preference is not to have this. But this is better than indirect subsidy and as long as its affordable I dont have major objection with it.

  12. The only mean test I know is the under RM3k per household which is not true because the check is against LHDN data. They do random checks for some cases and still reject even if deserving. Others we find multiple recipients in a single address. Only BN knows how this is done and is sure not to only the deserving but those who don’t need it.

    I would rather have a focus on hardcore poor or unemployed or below min wage etc than across the board by income. Fewer heads but more per head. These are the ones who will value it. I do not stop anyone from taking it because you shouldn’t look at a gift horse in the mouth. Just take, don’t say anymore. But it is our hard earned tax money. Maybe you will say it is not our tax money but from elsewhere?

    I see BR1M as a bad implementation of a good idea messed up by election ambitions and politicians.

    Compare examples with what PR states did, there is a major difference.

    a) 20 cubic meter free water per house with meter – targeted for non-commercial use, volume reasonable for 3 to 4 persons in a house

    b) RM2,500 funeral expense assistance – for the next of kin of senior citizens who live in Selangor

    I heard of attempts to abuse this. People trying to apply to get RM1000 first to spend and leave the balance after they die. The trick was uncovered and was checked before abuse happened. But the thought was there.

    c) cash award for top students – good incentive to study harder

    What you can see is direct subsidy concepts using minimum cash since they really didn’t have much. And the target groups and mechanisms are very reasonable.

    I am not trumpeting PR but using their examples. Certainly, they are no saints but they try hard to please with little means.

    • Ridiculous. Never mind. Since you allege, please provide prove that it didn’t go to the targeted group. How many cases and instances? By the way how many benefitted from it?

      Now let me turn on water. The free water is the most stupidest subsidy I’ve seen. Our water is dirt cheap. There’s no need for subsidize. The subsidy amount is just too small for it to be significant. Those who should benefit from it like hardcore poor/low income mainly don’t have meter to benefit.

      And you know what’s worse. Somebody has to pay hundreds of millions of this dumb subsidy. It should be selangor government but because they want to look good khalid did not booked it in their books. So khalid as chairman decided that selangor subsidiary GLC to bear it anf they are facing the hard times to ensure this.

      What benefit it achieves is almost zero save for bragging rights. And you call this good?

      Please I have zero tolerance on water issue with selangor government. They played politics to the max jeopardizing our supply. I repeat. if any of my water supply is effected I will literally kick Selangors excos behind in particular Khalid and the ridiculous Charles Santiago.

  13. Ah..finally there is something to light the fire.

    How many benefited from BR1M? Supposedly 4.3 million households translating to RM2.1 billion. Why don’t we give to every Malaysian then this will serve as history.

    Selangor water subsidy is also found in the BN Selangor manifesto. The amount of the subsidy is RM130 million for over 1 million households. How does it compare to the billions for BR1M? The Selangor Govt paid for it and regardless where the bill finally landed, money was channeled to cover it and all within the stables of companies.

    Ask everyone living in Selangor if they appreciated the water subsidy. Nobody said they didn’t like it and paid for it.

    Who is playing politics in the Selangor water? Peter Chin and Najib and Syabas. It seems you speak just like Peter Chin on this topic…LOL which he too is in the dark. The Selangor treated water supply seems to be mismanaged not by Khalid but by Syabas. This we can debate.

    By the way, do you live in Selangor?

    • I’m asking nicely that you read my write on water first. Don’t assume I don’t know. I’ve had this position for a while and tell you upfront SSG is rubbish. Please read that and the book “water tablet” to have a basic idea of the water industry.

      But first before we do that, i ask again that you provide proof where brim has not reached the intended target. Please give me reference and tell me how many instances that you know.

  14. Oh BR1M reached the intended target alright. As many voters the money available can afford. So using the RM3k per household cut off get you over 4 million spending over RM2 billion now looking at how many turns to votes.

    Obviously, there is no proper study done on those who qualify but didn’t get it and those who don’t need it also gets it but it is well known. I personally know many like this. But do you know for sure it reached the rightful needy targets?

    Post your link for the water issue here and I will read it.

    • Yes. I know. I know whom deservingly got it. None I know above rm3000 got it.

      Now you allege the brim was misused. Please provide reference and evidence. This is the second time I ask.

      For fairness I usually allow 3 times. Met many who are just taken in by blind unproven propaganda and hope you’re not one of them.


  15. I and many others know of people who shouldn’t get BR1M have gotten it. But nobody, even if I took it but I didn’t say I did, will admit to it. πŸ˜‰ After all, the Govt wants to give out money, why should we say no.

    Too bad you are keeping your mind and ears closed that BR1M is such a saintly execution. You didn’t deny that it was for attracting voters either. And to only do it now after 56 years in power? Ha Ha Ha

    You have been blinded by BN to believe their propaganda on BR1M. And to promise to give up to RM1,200 will cost the Govt RM5 billion a year.

    And where is your reference and evidence that those deserving got it?

    • I didn’t say its not a propaganda. You did.its similar to free water propaganda.

      The issue is simple. I’ve established direct subsidy is better.

      Brim is a direct subsidy by means test and I support it. As far as I know in general implementation is very acceptable. You allege wrong doing. You prove lah. Those who allege wrong doing must prove lah. Mana ada the other way around.

      Don’t play this game with me. I’m being nice, so I ask for the third time, where is the evidence. Otherwise withdraw or qualify your statement. We’re off track already.

      • You also said “I know whom deservingly got it” and you never produce your evidence.

        I said I know those who shouldn’t also got it.

        Your argument is silly and distracting. I know there is corruption but where is the evidence. The MACC says everybody is clean. The Attorney General says there is no case. Does that mean there is no corruption? Baloney!

        Well, one day when BN is no longer the ruling Govt, we may just find out, won’t we?

        All your talk about evidence is suppressed. Will the datuks, MPs and families, all who should not get BR1M please stand up and be counted? Oh none? So BR1M must be perfect…Ha Ha Ha πŸ˜‰ In your own words, I also agree in general the implementation is acceptable. Give money, who will disagree?

        Malaysia is probably one place where data is suppressed, doctored or hidden from public. Why? Everything is under the Official Secrets Act. Oh yeah. Let’s go for more accountability, shall we?

        The one playing game is you, Ellese. So you state your case, I state mine.

    • You should say no for being principled. I felt for my non Malay friends and thought I shouldn’t receive the scholarship then. I didn’t. I took loan and paid back every penny. Don’t argue about result coz even with non Malays friends they can’t argue on that.

      Just be principled will you. There’s nothing to be proud of taking money which you think is wrong. That money is supposed to go for those poorer than you. So be ashamed that you even considered taking it. Check your values.

  16. I applaud you for when you thought you shouldn’t receive the scholarship and you rejected.

    I was never offered and I didn’t have the chance to know how it feels to reject it.

    As such, I disagree with free Uni education. Students at that level who must borrow loan must repay, just like you did.

    I didn’t say I took BR1M, did I? That was a rhetorical jest. But when my hard earned tax dollars are given out so easily, I have serious problems with that.

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