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Location: Penang, Malaysia

December 21, 2004

Making money out of thin air - Part 2

I paid my Indah Water bill today. F#&% !!! T*&l%$m!c#*+h~@! I am pretty sure that was your response.

Many years back, some ingenious souls thought of a way of getting rich quick by privatising government agencies. Started with basic utilities such as the National Electricity Board (Lembaga Letrik Negara) and the Telecom Department (Jabatan Telekom). With the establishment of Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Telekom Malaysia Berhad, people started to see "some people" driving S-class Mercedes-Benz, and hence, more and more privatisation projects. Of course, after a while, ideas are running out, nothing else to be privatised. Hmm... how about privatising the shit business? As a result, Your National Sewerage Company was born. Consumers do not complain when the government privatised the electricity supplier and the telephone service provider because consumers continue to pay almost the same rates. In the Indah Water Konsortium Sdn. Bhd. case, this is purely making money out of nothing. In the past, we don't have to pay for sewerage service because the local municipal was in charge of it. We are paying the assessment rate (kadar taksiran), cukai tandas (toilet tax), etc. When IWK came in, we continue to pay those taxes as well. Furthermore, there is no contracts signed between residents and IWK, so why do we have to pay out of a sudden? They don't even have our names as they just put the word penghuni (resident) on the bill. Many people were not paying a single at all, and this dragged on for a couple of years.

In my opinion, IWK was more than just a simple privatisation project. It is a kind of test cases to test the water. Let's see the people's reaction towards making-money-out-of-nothing projects. If this goes well, let's privatise the garbage collection service, traffic lights, etc. Something that you used to enjoy for free will be chargeable soon. A new company, with those top guns buying new SUV to take their ham-kar (whole family) out, while the rakyat do not want to pay up... you are now in deep shit. No worries, mate. "Cry for help!", as simple as that. This line is now added to the company name. Milik Penuh Menteri Kewangan Diperbadankan. Well, they keep quiet for a while until the election is over. A year since the last election, they are sending the rakyat the bill again together with a "legal threat" letter. This time could be for real, I don't know. I gave in, sorry. Anyway, I still think that Martin Luther King Jr. was right when he once said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter".

I would imagine that this kind of IWK crap will not surface if the majority are really mature in electing their leaders. This is something that is easy to be said than done. I don't think that we can be a developed country in the near future, unless we really start to *think*. By the way, those people are not stupid too. If IWK will cause their downfall, I am sure they don't even dare to even test the water. Maybe we should read the book, Can Asians Think? by Kishore Mahbubani, Singapore's ambassador to the United Nations.


Blogger jon said...

chinese palm reading info is so cheesy but we were looking at it anyway...why i dont know. I guess it is fun to play around online. Anyway, I saw your chinese palm reading posts and though it was cool...Alright, well...have a great night, I am back to chinese palm reading surfing LOL : )


2:28 PM  

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