Tenaga and PLUs should. not be allowed to increase their rates and rolls until they have fulfilled their basic obligations to the consumers and commuters

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Saturday, October 21, 1995:

Tenaga and PLUs should not be allowed to increase their rates and rolls until they have fulfilled their basic obligations to the consumers and commuters Tenaga Nasional and PLUS should not be allowed to increase their rates and tolls until they have fulfilled their basic obligations to the consumers and commuters and prove themselves to be responsible corporate citizens in Malaysia.

It was reported in yesterday’s press that the government wants Tenaga Nasional Bhd to extend the 20-sen- per unit charge for the first 100 units of electricity consumed by house-holds t o 200 units.

At present domestic consumers are charged 20 sen per unit for the first 100 units, 23 sent for the next 900, and 26 sen for the rest.

Tenaga Nasional reacted promptly and said that it would co-operate with the Government in its policy and that it is “supportive of the government’s plan to achieve zero inflation’.

If Tenaga Nasional is sincere and serious an support¬ing the government’s plan of zero inflation, then it should not only extend the 20 sen per unit charge to 200 units., but should withdraw its request for increased electricity tariffs to the government, for any increase of electricity tariffs will be going against the government’s zero inflation campaign.

It is clear that the Tenaga’s lip-service support to the government’s zero inflation campaign is only a meaningless “public, relations exercise”.

If this is the case, it raises the question whether the extension of the 20-sen per unit to 200 units is not another “public relations exercise’1 to distract public attention from the increase in electricity tariffs expected to be announced any time now.

What is the justification for an increase in Tenaga electricity tariffs when last year, the company posted a RM1.98 billion pre-tax profit on a RM5.61 billion turnover?

Furthermore, how can Tenaga Nasional be allowed to increase electricity tariffs when it has failed’ to provide the basic standard or electricity supply, resulting in 8,000 to 10,000 power breakdowns in a month when in deve loped countries, A power breakdown is a rare and unusual event?

In Penang, the Penang state Government had to be continually prodded arid, reminded that it most demand ‘compensation from Tenaga Nasional for the Losses suffered by industry, business and consumers, particularly during the 10-day power blackout on the Penang Island in June.

It is clear that it there is no constant reminder fry the DAP, the Penang State Government would want to quietly forget about asking compensation or ex gratia payment from Tenaga Nasional on behalf ol Penang industry, business and consumers.

Parliament was told on Wednesday that Malaysia’s power capacity exceeds power demands by b4 per cent. This makes, the constant power disruptions – and it is the Prime minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Moharned who said that, there are 8,000 to 10,000 power breakdowns a month in Malaysia – is even more inexcusable.

Tenaga Nasional must be told in no uncertain terms that it would not be allowed to increase any electricity tariffs until at. is able to provide basic standard of electricity supply, whereby the power breakdowns and disruptions in Malaysia become a a nightmare of the past, and where Tenaga Nasional undertakes to accept legal liability to compensate industry.- business and consumers for losses suffered as a result, of Tenaga Nasional power disruptions.

PLUS must be told in no uncertain terms that a 33 per cent increase in toll rates for the Nort.h-Souch Highway is completely unacceptable as against, public policy – as at wall make a mockery of the government’s zero initiation campaign

The same considerations should apply to plus request for increase of toll rates for the North-South Highway.

PLUS must be told in no uncertain terms that a 33 percent increase in the toll rates, from 7.5 sen per km to 10 sen is completely unacceptable as being against public policy as it would make a total mockery of the government’s zero inflation campaign.

Furthermore, PLUS must prove that it is a responsible corporate citizen before it could be allowed to increase toll rates.

Although PLUS collects RM531 million in toll annually, it has failed to provide the basic facilities which North-South Highway commuters have a right to expects, as for instance, in the proper upkeep, maintenance and expansion of the North-South Highway without causing unnecessary traffic congestions or traffic hazards in certain stretches of the Highway.

Furthermore, PLUS have also failed to LOOK after the needs of the commuters for “rest”, and it is not an uncommon sight to see long queues or commuters lining up in smaller “rest bays” to answer the calls of nature – especially when buses of tourists congregate.

This is a best example of profit maximisation by PLUS coupled with minimisation of public facilities.

The government must set up a mechanism whereby requests by Tenaga, PLUS and other concessionaires which had gained monopoly control over public utilities should be vetted BY a citizenry body first before the government.takes any decision. This will ensure greater accountability and corporate respon¬sibility on the part, of Tenaga Nasional, PLUS and other public utility private monopolies!