Friday, June 27, 2008

Subsidise Fuel For All Lorries And Buses

By V.K. Chin
The Star Online, 23 June 2008

WITH the sudden increase in fuel prices, it is important that the public transport industry is given sufficient protection to ensure its survival.

Instead of giving rebates to private car owners to offset their higher petrol bills, the Government should pay special attention to lorry and bus operators to keep their fuel cost low.

A major factor contributing to inflation is an increase in transport charges.

In this respect, lorries are used to carry all types of goods, either from factories or farms to consumers.

Since their vehicles use diesel engines, any increase in this fuel will hit them hard and they will have no choice but to pass on the new cost to consumers.

Motorists can dictate the use of their vehicles to save petrol but in the case of lorry and bus owners, they just cannot afford to carry the additional financial burden.

They will likely charge their customers the full cost for diesel and consumers will have to pay much more for their purchases.

It is therefore important for the Government to give sufficient subsidy so that operators can obtain this fuel at cheaper rates.

When this is done, then there is little reason for them to raise their carriage fees indiscriminately.

The Government must therefore have a proper strategy in place so that subsidised diesel will be available to lorry operators. Otherwise, they may have to curtail their trips and this will have a devastating effect on the economy.

Whatever happens, it is vital that prices of groceries should be available at all times and at reasonable costs. If not, the public backlash can be quite serious.

The same goes for bus operators, including those ferrying children to and from school. Many of them have already increased their fares by more than the new price.

The Government may order them to stop this until things have been sorted out, but they are unlikely to wait too long for something to happen.

Passenger buses are also demanding an immediate increase in fares since their operating expenditure has gone up because prices of spare parts have risen as well.

They have strong grounds to request a 100% increase in fares because of these factors and it is unfair to keep asking them to bear the additional cost.

With prices of goods and services up, the cost of living will rise proportionately. But the official figure does not seem to reflect what is happening on the ground where housewives are trying to stretch their ringgit.

Since most of them go marketing every day, they are the first to feel the impact of any increase as their baskets have more space left with the same amount of money.


Abolishing import duties, excise duties and sales tax to lorries or buses and the relevant spare parts and tyres is another area that should be considered. Apart from that, the bus or lorry operators should be entitled relevant AP according to the number of lorries or buses they have. Exempting lorries or buses from toll charges shall bring much help to the industry also.

No comments: