Wednesday, June 18, 2008
a socialist story, part 1
It is not often I copy and paste entire articles here. Labels: current issues
In fact, this is the first time I am going to copy and paste an entire article here because (1) it is an old article and I lost the link and (2) even if I had the link, you would have to pay to read it.
The following article offers a glimpse of a socialist Venezuela. Whether or not you think the actions of Hugo Chavez below is right is different matter. This article offers a very balanced view, both for the people's point of view as well as their National Oil Company. When I first read this article two years ago, I thought it brilliant and an eye opener that I decided to save it up. And so here I am, sharing it with you at a time where I deem this article extremely revelant.
If you haven't read my previous article, please do so first before proceeding with this. Please do not be the typical Malaysian who says, "Nah, this is happening in Venezuela. It won't affect me". The truth is, this is exactly what certain politicians are proposing we do with our own National Oil Company.
As global demand tightens, oil producer has agenda
Stratfor Analysis, 2 August 2006
Ricardo Coronado, the head of western operations for Venezuela's state-run oil giant, found out the hard way that his job wasn't just overseeing development of one of the world's richest oil regions.
On a recent Saturday, Venezuela's flamboyant leader Hugo Chavez scolded him on national television for failing to appear at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a school in western Venezuela paid for by Petroleos de Venezuela SA.
"The time is past when the president turned up and PDVSA was off somewhere minding its own business," said Mr. Chavez, who ordered an aide to summon Mr. Coronado. When the hapless executive arrived a half-hour later, Mr. Chavez was still raging, and cut him off before he could defend himself. "There's nothing you can say," the Venezuelan president lectured.
Since Mr. Chavez took power in 1999, he has become PDVSA's de facto CEO, steering the oil company into political, economic and philanthropic ventures that have distracted it from its core business of finding and producing more oil. The consequences for PDVSA are stark: Output has fallen to an estimated 1.6 million barrels a day from nearly 3 million barrels in 1998.
The oil company, the world's third-biggest by most measures, is run along social and political guidelines as much as business tenets. As a result, much of the decision-making involves figuring out new ways to fund Mr. Chavez's pet projects. One of the latest ventures was paying to televise soccer's World Cup for free in Bolivia, a Chavez ally.
Mr. Chavez's geopolitical considerations, and his anti-American bent, also influence the way the company does business. PDVSA has turned away from traditional partners like U.S. major Exxon Mobil Corp. and is doing much more business with state companies from Iran, China and India. This weekend, during a visit to Tehran by Mr. Chavez, Iran pledged to invest $4 billion in two Venezuelan oil fields. The two nations also unveiled a raft of joint ventures, including a refinery in Indonesia.
PDVSA, however, has announced deals and projects in the past that have so far failed to get off the ground, including a proposed South American pipeline.
The company's diminished production has cut world output by more than 1%. That may not sound like a lot, but in a global oil market stretched tight by growing demand, political volatility and hard-to-expand supply, the company's production shortfall has contributed to the run-up in oil prices during the past few years, and is likely to continue to do so.
A recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office says that PDVSA's long-term decline in output is a growing energy-security problem for the U.S., which relies on the Andean country as its fourth-biggest oil supplier. Venezuela boasts the biggest oil reserves outside the Middle East, and is much closer to the U.S. market.
Venezuela's production could slide further. Under recent changes by Mr. Chavez, PDVSA will now be in charge of managing the privately run fields in Venezuela, where growing production accounts for roughly a third of the country's total oil output. Mr. Chavez is imposing new rules on the ventures that could hamper their continued growth, such as requiring them to spend part of their budget on social projects.
Nothing is more central to Mr. Chavez's political fortunes than PDVSA, pronounced peh-deh-VEH-za. The oil giant is the source of the money his government lavishes on the poor and, in many ways, his 60% approval ratings. Before the former paratrooper took power, many in Venezuela viewed the company as a fiefdom where oil engineers and technocrats lived comfortably and little was done for the poor.
Under Mr. Chavez, the priorities of PDVSA, which has funded half of government spending for decades, have changed dramatically. The company still hands over a portion of its profits to the government, but it also gets directly involved in poverty alleviation and economic development.
The company must spend at least 10% of its annual investment budget on social programs worth about $1 billion a year. But that figure doesn't include other spending by the oil giant on projects such as building roads and the government's subsidized food program. That kind of economic aid totaled $8 billion last year alone, the company says. Palmaven, the PDVSA unit that oversees social spending, is the company's fastest-growing division.
PDVSA's social focus sets it apart from most oil companies, which try to maximize output and profits. Even most state-run oil companies, which tend to have bloated payrolls, try to mimic private-sector efficiency and focus entirely on the oil business. PDVSA's shift recalls the role that Mexico's state firm Pemex played for decades in trying to spur economic development by providing jobs and building roads.
Such attention to economic development, however, gives the company less time and money to devote to its oil business. It spent just $60 million on exploration in 2004, compared with $174 million in 2001, according to the company's recently published 2004 financial results. That's bad news for Venezuela, where current wells are so old that their output falls at an average rate of 23% a year, forcing the company to drill new wells just to keep production steady.
"The oil industry needs investments in maintenance and expansions," says Domingo Maza Zavala, a central bank director who applauds the company's social mission but also says it should be more efficient.
In a recent report, Gersan Zurita, an oil analyst at Fitch credit-ratings agency, said that PDVSA's "forced disinvestment" for social programs has hamstrung the company's ability to produce oil.
Some of PDVSA's problems can be traced to a devastating strike in late 2002 and early 2003, during which Mr. Chavez sacked about 19,000 employees who opposed his policies. Even though employment is now back to pre-strike levels, output -- which began to recover in the months after the strike -- has since fallen again, suggesting a long-term decline at the company.
PDVSA counters that the company is performing well, and says its daily output is 2.2 million barrels, though most independent analysts and the U.S. government put it at about 1.6 million. The company says it plans to boost production to 4 million barrels a day by 2012. Venezuelan officials also point out that the country's oil exports to the U.S. have remained steady since 2004 at 1.5 million barrels a day.
In some cases, Mr. Chavez has literally taken PDVSA assets and handed them to the poor. The elegant five-story headquarters for PDVSA Servicios, a subsidiary that oversaw communications and technology services for the oil giant, has been turned into the Bolivarian University of Venezuela. The university's 5,000 students get a free ride: tuition, materials, health care and food are paid for by the oil company.
Students and teachers view the campus's marble-lined elevators, expensive artwork and baseball field as evidence that PDVSA's executives lived too cushy a life for a poor nation before Mr. Chavez came to power. As a group of students and teachers play baseball, 36-year-old English teacher Claire Bendahan looks on in approval. "This is socialism in action," she says. "Now our country's oil money is being used for the poor."
At this new PDVSA, job creation -- outside the oil business -- is also in. The company is kicking off a new program to create about 73,000 jobs, including at a paper plant and in ecotourism.
The firm's own hiring is based on social and political goals as much as on talent. Under a new job-placement system, candidates with larger families are given priority because they are viewed as needing jobs more. Those who have been unemployed for longer are pushed to the front of the line, too. This goes for technical and engineering jobs as well as secretarial ones.
Quality and safety have suffered since the strike. Industry executives say PDVSA has botched a number of wells over the past year due to human error. Contractors complain they have to repeatedly send staffing requests before getting properly trained oil hands. Even the National Assembly, where every legislator is from a pro-Chavez party, is alarmed enough that it is investigating whether the new hiring system has excluded more-experienced workers.
Company officials say accidents are in decline compared with 2003, just after the strike. "At first we had some bad stumbles, but the safety side has been improving a lot," says Jorge Luis Sanchez, the head of Venezuela's Enegas natural gas regulatory agency.
Nowhere has the company's decay turned up faster than at PDVSA's massive 1.3 million-barrel-a-day domestic refining network, which suffered more than a dozen plant outages in 2005. In March, two workers died in a blast at the Amuay refinery, the nation's largest. Last month, another explosion and subsequent fire caused extensive damage at a 190,000-barrel-a-day unit at Amuay, sending spot gasoline prices higher in the U.S. Gulf Coast where Amuay ships much of its production.
"Workers are scared," says Oswaldo Caibett, the president of the Fedepetrol oil union. The union filed a complaint with the attorney general's office last year after a deadly refinery fire, accusing management of negligence.
PDVSA refining chief Alejandro Granado recently acknowledged to the local press that accidents at the refining complex are above international standards, and that the company had contracted U.S. chemicals firm DuPont Co. to help it improve safety.
PDVSA's ambivalence about boosting oil production is seen in the shallow waters of the remote Gulf of Paria, where Christopher Columbus first set foot on the South American continent in 1498. U.S. oil giant ConocoPhillips discovered the Corocoro oil field in the area in 1999, and spent the next few years drilling exploratory wells and drawing up a production plan.
But when Conoco was ready to transport a U.S.-made drilling platform to Corocoro in late 2004 to get commercial production started, PDVSA, which has a 35% stake in the project, refused and insisted the company use a locally made platform. That decision set back commercial production by more than a year to early 2007.
"Nowhere else in the world do you have a field with 500 million barrels that just sits there," said an oil executive involved in the project.
PDVSA says that it doesn't want to rely on imported technology and wants to spawn a domestic oil-services industry to compete with the likes of France's Schlumberger Ltd. and U.S.-based Baker Hughes Inc. PDVSA recently announced that any private oil company doing business with the state firm must source a majority of supplies and services in Venezuela.
In the past two years, Mr. Chavez has rewritten the rules of Venezuela's oil industry. In 2004, his government claimed a majority stake in some 32 operating agreements between private companies and PDVSA, which gave the state firm at least a 60% stake in most ventures. This year, he announced similar rules for four heavy-oil projects in the Orinoco region, and is expected to eventually seize operations from two other private ventures not included in the original 32 deals -- among them the Corocoro field.
Soon, any private oil company working in a joint venture with the state firm will be required to spend 3.3% of its local investment budget on social programs. "It's not easy. . . . But there will be no more projects with their backs turned to our reality," Rafael Ramirez, president of PDVSA, told an audience of industry executives in announcing the move in June.
Oil-service companies, which provide platforms, rigs and drilling supplies, must also include a community project, such as low-income housing, as part of their bids for contracts from PDVSA. In addition, the companies must spend up to 5% of the value of each contract hiring local worker-owned service companies to do some of the work.
Some in the oil service industry are pushing back. Todco, a U.S.-based rig supplier, has already sent two of its eight Venezuela rigs back to Houston.
Nevertheless, PDVSA's priorities are focused on bettering the lives of people in the nation's teeming slums. In the seaside town of Catia la Mar, about a half hour drive from the capital, the firm has just built one of 1,000 new community centers it plans to construct across the country. The centers offer living quarters for two doctors, often Cubans, who give locals free medical care. The waiting rooms all have new TVs and DVD players.
A local PDVSA employee organizes residents into a dozen committees, including health, sports and political ideology, which identify local needs and draw up proposals for PDVSA to fund.
The spending goes down well with Yoselin Escobar, a 33-year-old teacher and member of the local education committee, who is trying to convince the oil company to pay a monthly stipend to stay-at-home mothers who look after the children of other working moms. "Thanks to our president, the oil company helps us," she says. "I'm voting for [Chavez] until I die."
I do hope that you appreciated the article, and please feel free to draw your own conclusions from it.
I really want to know what you think here.
Labels: current issues
The rakyat need to realise that we do not have enough oil to be wasting it on at all. Hell, we shouldnt even be giving out oil subsidaries of any sort(maybe just to the fishermen and independent truck drivers).
From a capitalistic point of view,
We should be making as much money as we can from whatever oil reserves we have left.
With prices at an all-time high, this is the best time to 'cash out' on our oil. Lets face it, the cars of the future will not be running on petroleum.
Sooner or later we wont be relying on oil. And thats when countries like Venezuela and whoever placed their eggs in one basket will be fucked.
remember the story of the farmer who had the goose that could lay golden eggs?
It is also said that "Since its creation in 1974, Petronas has recorded a profit of RM570 billion of which RM336 billion has been paid to the government". The problem is this money rarely sees the light of day and the only people that get richer are the govt cronies.
Problem is, a large number of Malaysians (the lazier ones in particular) would welcome this as
1)They won't have to work.
2)Those who are willing to work are often very poor.
For point 1, it is not limited to the stereotypical NEP references, but all Malaysians who tak apa everything.
From a capitalistic point of view,
We should be making as much money as we can from whatever oil reserves we have left. "
LOL what a simplistic view.
Yeah WE should be doing that. The issue is neither WE, the rakyat, or Malaysia is NOT getting the most of the profit. Rather the lions share ends up with the corrupt cronies and idiots in UMNO and government. who live in luxury and waste billions, nay, even TRILLIONS on stupid projects even blind men can see are unnecessary.
How much did Putrajaya cost again? Oh yeah RM 12 billion. How many years of petrol subsidy is that? 20? How much did it cost to build Petronas Twin Towers and KLCC? Something around RM2-5 billion? How many years of oil subsidy is that? Another 5 years or so?
And DON'T tell me these are done for the "benefit of the people" because you and I both known - they aren't. How much income does Putrajaya return to the nation? How much does Petronas Twin Towers? Not very much, is the answer. And we've not even brought up the overbuilt KLIA and the only-used-once-or-twice-a-year Sepang F1 circuit.
Basically NO MALAYSIAN would mind paying 100% unsubsidised prices for petrol and other essentials IF WE ARE SURE THE GOVT IS MANAGING OUR MONEY WISELY.
If they aren't I'd rather they use it on subsidies than their palatial 30-room mansions or private jets, thankyouverymuch.
God, some Govt apologists are dumb.
I never did say that the government is managing the money wisely. If you find me the part of my article that says that, I will shut down this blog straight away so you won't have to deal with my dumbness.
I said I am against populist policies and against subsidies. I don't care who the government is, as long as what they do is the right thing.
But your good friend Anwar Ibrahim is proposing to INCREASE subsidies and Lim Guan Eng wants to give free money to every household which earns less than RM6000 a month.
Sidetrack since you brought up the Twin Towers. Where do you propose the thousands of Petronas staff work? Should Petronas rent (or buy) 10 average size buildings instead? Or do you propose we build some oil rigs and let them all sit in the middle of the ocean?
Populist policies and subsidies can't last forever - that much is true, but the truth is, compared to corruption, there's really only one real winner there.
Besides, almost ALL nations practice some form of subsidy. If its not oil, its agriculture. Did you know that "1st world nations" in the EU subsidize farming so much that almost 1/2 to 3/4 of the cost of local produce is borne by the govt in some European nations? Or how much the British subsidize their education system? US subsidizes its manufacturing industry. And even our Sinkahpoorah cousins subsidize certain industries.
And besides, if you drive even the cheapest foreign car, I got news for you, your oil was never subsidized. The money you paid in excise taxes means you would have to drive your car for YEARS even before you just break even (and that was for the OLD subsidy rates!)
If you drive a luxury model, like my BMW 3-series, the amount I pay in excise tax and import duties can COMFORTABLY cover the fuel subsidy at the old rates until well, for the rest of my life.
PS: 10 regular-size buildings are cheaper than 1 Petronas twin tower. And would probably fit more people.
You obviously have never been inside Petronas Twin Towers 1/2. After level 30, the tower shrinks rapidly in floor space, the office get smaller and smaller (not that the size of the floors were all that big to begin with).
I'd say that 3 20-storey buildings (in fact pretty low for a modern skyscraper) could easily fit all of Petronas' staff, with room left over. Remember that Petronas is only anchor tenant of PTT 1, there are still alot of vacant lots at PTT 2 - if you don't believe me, go look and see.
I am not arguing against corruption!
What is the matter with you?
And if you really are driving a 3-series and complaining about the subsidy removal, you really are an idiot.
And yes, things are already subsidized you know. Every damn thing in Malaysia is subsidized. Everything from the food you eat - rice, flour, sugar to the energy bill that you rack up in your house. And subsidies like the ones you mentioned are for industries, or for bare essentials (agriculture and education) not so that random idiots like you get cheaper petrol for your 3-series.
By the way, where are you going to find space to build 10 'regular sized' buildings in KL city centre? Or should your national oil company base their operations in Bahau or Temerloh?
You know, the majority of the people who complain about the hike are the lower middle income group, who can actually afford it but have to change their lifestyle because of the hike. You, on the other hand are the first person from the higher income group that is actually bitching about it.
Of course that is assuming that your story about your 3-series is not a fantasy (since you are anonymous and on the cyberspace anyway).
I am glad they build the towers. It visually imposing and remains as the landmark of Malaysia.
LOL. But truth be told, seems like you are.
If corruption wasn't exacting such a heavy toll on the nation's finances, we could easily afford subsidy on numerous items (if not the price of petrol) couldn't we?
"And if you really are driving a 3-series and complaining about the subsidy removal, you really are an idiot."
Actually, the idiot is you.
1. Money is money. And since I ALREADY PAID the government in lieu of my petrol subsidies when I purchased the car and paid excise tax (TAX AMONG THE ****ING HIGHEST IN THE ****ING WORLD AT THAT) I don't see why people like me should be made to pay double. Its not just me, obviously it affects any person who isn't driving Naza, Proton or Perodua, from those who cruise around in 7-series and Brabus right down to your humble Altis/City/Latio owner.
2. If things get tough for the lower income group it will eventually get tough for everyone. Considering the lower income group constitute a large amount of the population, it will eventually (if not already) affect businesses, and thus the livelihood of the middle- and middle-upper classes (of which I am one). Of course, the upper classes which are all UMNO and MCA fat cats will take their ill-gotten gains in Swiss banks and **** off by then to Australia or Sillypore.
"And yes, things are already subsidized you know. Every damn thing in Malaysia is subsidized. Everything from the food you eat - rice, flour, sugar to the energy bill that you rack up in your house."
LOL This comment takes the cake.
You are a complete and total tool.
1. Price controls are incredibly devious here in Malaysia. Sure, SOME of those items are subsidized, however, these items are rarely stocked and if they are, are sold out really quick, so their benefit to the population is MINIMAL at best. Rice, when it costs RM30 a bag of 10kg ISN'T subsidised boy. Why don't you wake up. Price-controlled flour is also about as rare as the white unicorn.
Remember the sugar shortage about a year ago? Coarse sugar was controlled, fine sugar wasn't. What retailers did is simply withhold sale of coarse sugar (or simply not stock it), forcing customers to buy expensive fine sugar. With rice now? Same **** different smell.
I'd be amazed if an average household gets anything more than a insignificant benefit from "food subsidies" from the government.
2. ENERGY PRICES ARE NOT SUBSIDIZED. This is because although companies get subsidized fuel from the govt, the leakages in the form of corruption and IPPs etc. Hint: Our energy prices are NOT Cheaper than thailand, and, dollar-to-dollar are more expensive than Sg. So go figure.
"By the way, where are you going to find space to build 10 'regular sized' buildings in KL city centre? Or should your national oil company base their operations in Bahau or Temerloh?"
1. Of course its easy to find space in KL for 10 buildings. How long have you lived here? There's KL, Cheras, Ampang, PJ, etc etc. Spreading the buildings out also has the net effect of reducing congestion as not everyone congregates at 1 place.
2. People have been B**ching for years about KL being the only city to get development, so YES, the govt should consider relocating Petronas' departments to states that produce the majority of the nation's oil - T'gganu, Sabah and Sarawak. Again, this reduces congestion in KL.
"You, on the other hand are the first person from the higher income group that is actually bitching about it."
I see. So I slog my way (paying my own damn tuition fees instead of anak menteri who get free scolarships overseas even tho their parents are millionaires) and through hard work and a bit of good fortune, land a good job, so just because I can afford it, I MUST subsidize (not once, but twice actually) the govt for its inefficiency and corruption? Yes?
PS: Dollar-to-dollar, oil prices AND food prices here are more expensive than singapore. And whats more, they earn more than us (dollar-to-dollar too). Why don't you chew on that for a while son.
It is not about whether we can afford it. It is whether the money saved on subsidies can be used for better things.
And besides, subsidies are meant to help the poor. In fact, I don't agree subsidising petrol for anybody who drives a car bigger than a Kancil, much less an asshole with a 3-series.
If you say your energy bill is not subsidised, then you really are the idiot who doesn't know what he is talking about. You rightly point out that the fuel is subsidised (wrongly pointing out that the subsidy is from the government when it is in fact from Petronas and TNB) but you say the energy bill is not?
What are on Earth are you talking about?!? Did you not learn science in school? The fuel is converted to energy, you idiot! If the fuel is subsidised, hence your energy is subsidised!!!
Your anti-government ramblings is starting to annoy me. I told you a million times I don't deny they are corrupt and inefficient. You want to get rid of them? FINE BY ME! I just want to make sure the person you put in there doesn't subsidise your 3-series just to make you happy. Because you know, that is equally inefficient - inefficient allocation of resources that is.
I just realised something.
You keep refering to me as 'boy' and 'son'. Since I am damn sure you are not my father, you must be one of those old pensioners who has nothing better to do than to sit in coffeeshops all day long to moan about everything under the sky.
And to everybody who disagrees with you, you go, Boy, I have eaten more salt than you have eaten rice.
I say, get a life, old man.
Or rather, you are the one going around in loops trying to defend the indefensible.
"But I also said, with or without corruption, fuel subsidies have to go."
HAVE TO? Why should they?
Considering the sheer amount of $$$ lost every year to corruption and wastage (RM18k for the PM's expenses), the government can easily implement a 30 sen rolling subsidy for (almost) perpetuity without a drop in govt funds so long as corruption and wastages are reduced to zero. Hell, they may even have some (or rather a lot!) of money left over.
"And besides, subsidies are meant to help the poor. In fact, I don't agree subsidising petrol for anybody who drives a car bigger than a Kancil, much less an asshole with a 3-series."
Are you slow or something son?
I already told you I AM NOT A BENEFICIARY OF FUEL SUBSIDIES AS I ALREADY MORE THAN PAID WHATEVER "FUEL SUBSIDY" I GET IN EXCISE TAX WHEN I BOUGHT THE CAR. Which part of that is so hard to understand?
You talk about ending subsidies. Well lets talk about ending subsidies. Not just for petrol, but for Proton and Perodua, for Streamyx and Astro. Get rid of all the unfair excise taxes and monopolies and let new players come in, which brings competition and lower prices.
But did those happen? Noooooooo.
Yeah fuel is expensive in the USA. But their cars are CHEAP. Dollar-to-dollar, you can buy a Porsche Boxer for the price of a Toyota Vios S here and have change left over.
So whats left for Malaysians? We pay only slighly lower prices on petrol and get absolutely SLAUGHTERED on car prices (which btw more than covers the petrol subsidy).
Same with phone bills, or satelite TV. How much do you pay for Screamyx, RM88 a month? You know how fast a line your average Yank can get for US$88 a month? Or how many channels he can get on his TV for US$108.88 a month?
Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. The government subsidizes us a little (and getting lesser), we subsidize them and their cronies A LOT.
"If you say your energy bill is not subsidised, then you really are the idiot who doesn't know what he is talking about."
Yet again, you are a fool who obviously has the IQ of a 6 year old child (which is why I keep calling you "son") LOL.
You didn't realize that even though the gas is subsidized for TNB and the IPPs by the government (or by Petronas if you like, which is the same thing - DUH!) the rates are still expensive? IE - NOT (or we can be kind/blind and say BARELY) SUBSIDIZED.
Electricity rates in Malaysia - RM0.35/kWh.
Electricity rates in Singapore - S$0.24/kWh.
And whats more - Sg's average salary is dollar-to-dollar MORE than Malaysia's. Vincent shown to be dead wrong - again. LOL.
"I just want to make sure the person you put in there doesn't subsidise your 3-series just to make you happy. Because you know, that is equally inefficient - inefficient allocation of resources that is."
Hey, if I paid MARKET PRICE (or close to it) for my 3-series, I don't mind one bit if petrol is sold at market price. Honestly.
The issue here is, I already paid my dues (via excise tax), and am now being ask to pay again? And AGAIN (when food and almost all other prices go up)? 3X is more than enough don't you reckon? Most of us who don't have the intellectual capability of a toddler can see we (the rakyat) are being shafted in the ass. Twice. Not you apparently, son.
Firstly, how do you know that? What's the math? Secondly, corruption is not going to disappear in practice, not even be reduced significantly, unless you count on a humongously major social/economic event happening in Malaysia ... that means your point is hypothetically true, but practically not achievable.
Fine, complain about car excises towering over fuel subsidies. Vincent's point was that (correct me if I'm wrong) you were able to buy that car to begin with.
Yes, our government is inefficient compared to many other industrialised First World countries.
Still, how have you shown the blogger to be wrong by indicating that Singapore has cheaper elec. rates than Malaysia? Vincent's point: fuel is subsidised = energy is subsidised. Your point: fuel is subsidised, but M'sia > S'pore, hence Vincent = dumbass. What's the relevance of that line of argument? This is an ad hominem fallacy.
Do you realise that you're just complaining about your situation? ("My car ..." this and that, "I already paid my dues ...") Not saying you don't have grounds. But look at what you're talking about, and what Vincent is talking about; and what you seem to be spending all your words doing: focussed on proving the blogger wrong.
Okay old man, did you even read my 3 posts?!? The whole point is that TNB and PETRONAS are NOT the government. That is the whole point I have been trying to make! They are not the government and they cannot be treated like the government. This is exactly what the Venezuela post goes on and on about!
You obviously did not read my post and obviously want to target your argument at other issues which are totally out of the topic!
Tell you what. Don't waste my time. Don't waste your own time.
Go back to your kopitiam and continue bitching with your similarly old pensioner friends.
Just like vincent to miss the forest for the trees.
Your venezuelan example totally does not hold. Why?
Because people are only asking the government to use what Petronas pays out more responsibly, NOT to use up all Petronas' funds for populists policies ala Chavez. Petronas pays the government billions a year and the Public has a RIGHT to know the money is being used responsibly instead of being frittered away on corruption and wastage (Monsoon cup anyone). If you can't see that, dont go around calling yourself "child genius".
Also, the people would like to see SOME form of savings from Petronas' wasteful usage of government money by reducing excesses like corporate jets, expensive (and useless) orchestras and ego-stroking exercises like building petronas tower. Reduction of such useless enterprises will save a bundle in hard times and STILL won't compromise on Petronas' operations budget.
I'm guessing you already know this, you just refuse to admit it.
You obviously haven't been reading the news. Lim Guan Eng has proposed to spend HALF of Petronas' profits (RM35 billion out of RM70 bil) to give RM6000 per year to households that earn less than RM6000/month. Then if Anwar Ibrahim had his way, he would continue spending RM40 bil/year on fuel subsidies. You do the math, wise old man. Chavez? Hmm..
"Petronas pays the government billions a year and the Public has a RIGHT to know the money is being used responsibly instead of being frittered away on corruption and wastage (Monsoon cup anyone)."
AGAIN. I wonder if they taught reading & comprehension when you were in school 50 years ago.
I told you a million times...I AGREE!!! I would also like to know where the money given to the government went. I also want to cut down wastage. But I repeat - your bloody subsidies are also WASTAGE.
And please don't start comparing your car excise duty with the US and Europe. Why don't you also compare your income tax rates with the US and Europe? Besides, that is a totally different topic. Don't hijack this discussion topic.
Corporate jets? They don't own corporate jets, old man. Who the heck owns corporate jets anyway? The jets are leased, and for good reason. Do you expect the CEO and Board of Directors of a Fortune 500 company to waste his time waiting in airports, following the schedule of commercial airlines?
My point all along is that national oil companies like Petronas (and PDVSA in the article) should be treated like commercial entities and not charity organisations. I am sure Toyota's head honcho flies everywhere on a private jet as well.
And since you keep bringing up the Twin Towers, here's food for thought.
The Twin Towers cost about RM4 billion. Fuel subsidy last year cost RM40 bil last year and would have cost RM56 bil this year if not for the price hike.
So...you have RM4 bil to spend...
Build the tallest twin towers in the world, use it to brand your country and sell that image to the world for the next 100 years, and expect a good return on investment since the towers are certainly worth more than RM4 bil today.
Subsidise the petrol bill for the 'rakyat' (and some rich assholes with 3-series) for 1 month.
Sounds like a NO BRAINER to me.
Way to go by building a strawman argument. I NEVER said I agree with Anwar's plans. Maintaining fuel subsidies at RM1.98 for perpetuity might be too much, but to ask for a rolling 30-50 sen subsidy on top of petrol price can easily if wastages and corruption are checked.
And besides, even IF I did agree with Anwar, his scheme can in fact be implemented without cutting into Petronas' operating costs.
I was not aware that Petronas was the only profitable GLC in the whole country. MAN, we must be in terrible shape.
Oh.........wait I forgot. How much did all the Highway concessionaires collect last year? Oh thats right RM24 BILLION in 2007. I fail to see why they should be allowed to keep so much of their ill-gotten gains. Even passing over JUST 25% of their profit, around RM8 billion is enough to cover almost 1/5 of Annuar's proposed RM50 billion/year subsidies without digging into Petronas' operating budget.
Oh, and there's other GLCs, the likes of Puncak Niaga, or Sime Darby (who is enjoying a bumper year due to soaring commodity prices), or TNB (who just proposed to increase top management's salaries by 100%!) and Telekom (who exists in a virtual monopoly as well). How about the government ask them to share the burden with Petronas as well?
Suddenly, RM50 billion seems pretty little actually.
And we've not even touched on excise taxes yet.
"But I repeat - your bloody subsidies are also WASTAGE."
Yeah, helping the rakyat and controlling soaring inflation is "wastage", but building a half-empty skyscraper or a supersized airport many times larger than needed to stroke the ego isn't.
"And please don't start comparing your car excise duty with the US and Europe. Why don't you also compare your income tax rates with the US and Europe?"
Income tax rates in Western nations may be higher but they also get a far superior level of service from the Government,including social security and also the privilege not to be tolled every time (or sometimes several times!) you drive more than 1km.
Car excise tax is brought up as it is another way WE, the people, subsidize the government, or specifically, it's GLC, Proton via protectionism.
LOL, PLENTY of CEOs take commercial flights, and those are (similar to Toyota) with their OWN COMPANY'S money, NOT THE GOVERNMENTS!!!
Ingar Kamprad, one of the richest guys in the world and founder of IKEA, flies not just commercial flights, but Economy class. So too Narayana Murthy, CEO of Infosys. What makes it all the more galling is that corporate jets are NOT just reserved for CEOs and/or Directors in Petronas, but also for top executives (thats why they have SEVERAL jets). Hell, if people like Ingvar Kamprad can be thrifty with THEIR OWN money, I certainly don't see why Petronas' CEO, directors and top execs can't be thrifty with OUR money. WE HAVE A RIGHT to demand it do we not?
"Build the tallest twin towers in the world, use it to brand your country and sell that image to the world for the next 100 years, and expect a good return on investment since the towers are certainly worth more than RM4 bil today."
LOL. Brand your head.
The only thing it stood for is how stupid Malaysians are, given that it was foreigners who designed and supervised the building of the entire project.
You're right though, 1 extra month of fuel subsidy would have benefited the nation immensely more than the waste of space in downtown KLCC built with our money.
Subsidize petrol for 1 month and ease the burden of 26 million people by keeping costs and inflation down for 30 days...
Stroke the ego of one man, build 2 useless towers entirely designed and supervised by Westerners (ensuring nett outflow of currency to the country) and to this day, almost a decade later still not 100% fully tenanted and only the earning the title of tallest building in the world for a mere 5 years.
Really is a no-brainer that one.
It is impossible to argue with someone who doesn't seem to be able to stick within the scope of discussion.
I talk of Petronas and subsidies, you talk of corruption and Sime Darby.
I would call you an idiot for talking about net outflow of currency for the twin towers while 70% of the petrol stations belong to foreign oil companies.
But I just don't have time to continue to long and tedious discussion with an old man dead set on his ways. My time is better spent educating others on what is right and wrong.
I guess it is true. You can't teach old dogs new tricks. Forgive my stupidity for even attempting it.