Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cash Rebates - as appeared in STAR (16June) and NST(17June)

Beginning from today, many of us would be making a beeline to the Post Office to collect our rebate of RM625. (your press report refers) This is one of the steps taken by the government to assist the Rakyat to offset some of the hardship following the partial removal of petrol subsidy.

I welcome this move though I reserve my opinion on the question of removing the petroleum subsidy.

My concern here is about the government through Post Malaysia is also looking at a plan for rebate collection by those living abroad. I strongly believe that they should not even bother to waste time on this.

The whole point of the rebate is to assist those who need it, who are directly affected by the higher petrol price; thus it is only restricted to owners of vehicles under 2000cc. Therefore, those who are living abroad, are not paying the higher petrol rates, thus not directly affected by the removal of the petroleum subsidy. They should not be entitled to this rebate.

From your press reports, some parents have argued that their children are studying/working abroad and thus cannot be present in person to collect the rebate.

Well, if a student can own a vehicle and also being able to study abroad, than I believe that this person do not need this rebate! Likewise, someone who is working abroad, is not directly affected by the higher costs in this country. They too do not qualify for the rebate.

Thus, the government should not go out of their way to work out a plan for third party collection of rebate, especially when it is for those who are abroad. Anyway, the existing guidelines allow for this rebate to be collected within a year. There is ample time for these people to claim the rebate.

I feel that even with having to collect the rebate in person, it already has many areas for abuse. Allowing third party collection would be opportunity for greater abuse.

On the same note, I strongly believe that each person is only allowed to claim rebates for one vehicle. If a person can own more than one vehicle, he should infact not be needy, thus not be entitled to the rebate at all. If this person truly feels the financial burden because of the higher price of petrol, than he should just sell off his second or third car.

I urge the government to reconsider the plans to allow this rebate to be claimed by third parties. We must look at the objectives and purposes of giving out this rebate and do not allow for it to be abused. The selfishness of some quarters should not be entertained. We certainly cannot please everybody but we must do so for the majority and stay focused on what we want to achieve.

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