Skip to main content

BEING FRANK: Things can only get bitter

Being Frank by Frankie D'Cruz, as published in Malay Mail today.



AIMING for goal, the Land Public Transport Commission has hit the crossbar. The sudden and sharp increase in public transport fares is so out of touch, it’s untrue about the impact of government austerity measures on consumers.

In probably the most depressing story of the week, the commission (SPAD) unleashed a triple whammy on the same day by sanctioning steep increases in budget taxi, express bus and commuter train fares.

One thing’s for sure: The people get overrun and this sort of price hike frenzy will help no one.

In what other society would such wide scale failure be tolerated? Failure - because Malaysian policy makers seem to have lost touch with the man on the street.

Consider the whole issue that is becoming increasingly radioactive: The fare increases come before and after the implementation of the poorly explained goods and services tax (GST) on April 1.

It wasn’t sensible of SPAD to announce the sharp hikes at a time when consumers were grappling with the promise of the moon on a stick with regard to the confusing GST.

Clearly, the increases represent a regulatory failure by SPAD to review fares every two years at least with focus on small and manageable increments.

Why did they ignore a gradual increase to balance consumer and business interests? Why are they now scaring off the public instead of promoting public transport?

Why haven’t the various problems raised by taxi passengers, including haggling over the fare and unmetered rides been sternly addressed by SPAD? Could such deceit by the cabbies be due to the hopeless economic incentives provided by the existing fare structure?

Did they consider the timing and scale of fare increases would cause people to shy away from public transport and instead opt for alternative services such as Uber?

To be sure, this is a mission failure for SPAD that has shown no fairness as a regulatory agency and ignored those whom public transport providers depend on.

This is a gold-star grievance that entitles consumers to full victimhood status, given the expose by Malay Mail today on unscrupulous businesses cashing in on GST – a contemptuous behaviour that is too ingrained and cannot be altered overnight.

Dealing with such profiteering arrogance would be a daily aggravation for consumers without whom businesses are nothing.

I could fill this column every week with stories of vindictive taxi drivers, insane bus drivers, crippling price increases, rogue businesses and grasping bureaucrats who appear to take a perverse pleasure in persecuting the very people they are paid to serve.

But then, we know it’s all about collective brain freeze. The harsh reality is plain: You and I are going down. The scope of the problem is overwhelming and diffused across a wide and densely crowded area.

When we dismiss their logic as idiotic, we are treated like children caught in a lie, grilled on every minor point of our argument and deemed hecklers.

Listen: You have sucked our financial oxygen out of the air and stuck a dagger into our hearts. I say: “Come, walk in our shoes.”

Frankie is editor emeritus of Malay Mail. He can be reached at frankie@mmail.com.my or on Twitter @dcruzfrankie

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What went wrong with KL SEA Games?

145 gold medals.
It's the best Team Malaysia has ever achieved since the inception of the SEAP Games in1959.
The 29th edition of the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur ended yesterday. The opening ceremony dazzled those at the stands and viewers at home while the performances during the closing ceremony yesterday jogged plenty of musical memories to many.
Our athletes, the real superheroes, brought smiles through their heroic display. They made everyday a happy day.
Kudos to the officials - from the coaches, the National Sports Institute and National Sports Council - for their hard work in ensuring our athletes perform to their best.
But it was not all memorable.
From

'World fashion disaster' in KL

World Fashion Week Asia 2017 ended over the weekend.

And the launch on Friday at Palace of the Golden Horses at Mines Resort City just outside Kuala Lumpur turned out to be a forgettable night.

Why?

It was poorly organised.

Just as many are trying to get over the nightmare witnessed throughout the KL SEA Games, the organiser of World Fashion Week Asia 2017 has made it look like Malaysians seem to have lost it when it comes to hosting major events and hospitality.

Here's why.

Royal protocol ignored

1. The Sultanah of Terengganu Sultanah Nur Zahirah was invited to grace the event.
    a. There was no holding room for the Sultanah and VIPs accompanying her.
    b. The Sultanah was invited on stage without anyone accompanying her there (a big NO NO if anyone knows protocol involving royalty).
    c. The event dragged on till 11.30pm, way past the cut off point of the very many events I've attended with members of the royal family present.
   d. The Sultanah was forced to walk all t…

Klang run 'illegal', says Sports Commissioner

UPDATE (Dec 11; 11.58am): Sporting events approved by Sports Commissioner's Office will be posted on the Youth and Sports Ministry's website starting Dec 14, as revealed by the Sports Commissioner in her statement today. I'm glad the last point of my observation (as per posting right below) has been addressed.

---

UPDATE (10.57pm): A Twitter user had sent me a link by the organiser of the Klang Heritage Marathon 2017. It states that the marathon has been "postponed to Oct 14, 2018" and that they have been victims of fake news and will lodge reports with the authorities against materials with elements of defamation or fake news. Read the full statement, posted on Dec 2, here.

---
ORIGINAL POST

A Klang City International Marathon 2017 pacer suffered serious injuries after she and two others were hit by a car

Turns out that the organiser of this morning's event, Earth Runners International Group Sdn Bhd, DID NOT submit any application to the Sports Commissioner&#…