Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Side Views

The silliness of claiming ownership over wrongs — Sakmongkol AK47

June 15, 2011-The Malaysian Insider

JUNE 15 — The problem with Umno goons is that they want to claim ownership on some indefensible issue. This is silly, because people will start viewing Umno as an organisation that stands on the side of abuse, of corruption, of mis-governance and as a party that practises discretionary and arbitrary laws.

Umno is fast becoming a dirty four-letter word.

When someone criticises the scandalous payments to independent power producers (IPPs), their criticisms were taken as attacks on Umno? So what does Umno support?

Umno supports some dubious arrangements to pay the IPPS horrendous prices when the same can be produced cheaper by TNB? Umno stands for cavorting with the robber barons of today?

The Anandas, the YTLS, the Berjayas, the Genting Lims — all friends of Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Dr Mahathir isn’t infallible.

Why should Umno claim ownership over malpractices or claim ownership of possible corrupt practices? They should disown these, not own up to them.

This kind of stupidity will cost Umno dearly in later years. Umno should NOT take attacks on policies and on some issues of public concerns as attacks against the Malays or a Malay government. Perkasa doesn’t speak for the Malays. It’s not the only voice. Ibrahim Ali is no more Malay than I am and I am no less Malay than Ibrahim Ali.

Here is the problem with the IPP issue. People are questioning why the government finds it easy to withdraw subsidies from ordinary people but not those paid to IPPs. This double standard raises the concern that the government protects the IPPs, coincidentally mostly created during Dr Mahathir’s watch.

People can argue that IPPs get subsidies so that they can charge the public lower. Otherwise they will charge the public higher rates. The next real question is, if IPPs have contracts agreed by the Mahathir administration that protect them from price fluctuations, why were they given preferential treatment? Why protect them from price fluctuations?

Essentially, IPPs are protected from fuel price fluctuations. If the government cuts fuel subsidy, then the cost will be passed to the IPPs, who in turn will pass it on to Tenaga, who will then need to raise electricity tariffs. So, in a sense, IPPs do not really benefit from the fuel subsidies.

The real issue is not why not take away subsidies from IPPs, but rather why Tenaga and the government then agreed to the price Tenaga must pay to these IPPs and the “take or pay” conditions.

The robber barons are holding the government to ransom and Dr Mahathir, who was the PM then, agreed to be squeezed by the balls.

Isn’t Tenaga capable of generating electricity at a much lower cost than the IPPs (economy of scale, lower cost of capital, etc)?

I read somewhere that some think tankers say that subsidies cause IPPS to be inefficient. Nope, I think subsidy causes not the IPPs but Tenaga to be inefficient or cause Tenaga to operate at sub-optimal level.

Tenaga is forced to cater for daily peak and off peak demands and the broader economic cycles which means that Tenaga will have to shut off its own lower cost power stations when demand goes down because those IPPs are on a “take or pay” contract.

Why should we be forced to pay the rates in the first place? Because we are forced to do so, it would suggest that really, those responsible at that time, the bankers and the IPPS are screwing us big time. How so?

IPPS get financing from banks, right? Banks will finance only if IPPs generate higher ROIs. They must generate higher ROIs than those used and accustomed to by Tenaga anyway. How do the IPPs ensure higher ROIs? Only by securing guarantees from the Malaysian government.

So when the Anandas, the Genting people, the Berjaya People, the Habibs, the YTLs came before the PM then, they said in unison, “we can’t get financing boss IF we can’t get higher rates”.

So the boss said “OK, you charge higher rates, which we guarantee in agreements which can’t be revealed forever”.

So they answered, “Orite boss, we are in business!”

As an Umno man, I am telling my friends in the party to stop having to support these wrongs; wrongs are wrongs — no matter the architect.

Don’t think we can forever be in power. Can you imagine if another party forms the government, they create a Truth Commission as done by Mandela? Then all dubious contracts and projects will be subject to real forensic investigations which will make many people testicles-less.

So, stop claiming ownership over wrongs committed. That wasn’t the reason Umno came into being. — sakmongkol.blogspot.com

* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

No comments:

Post a Comment