Friday, March 30, 2012

Scrapping smelter deal: Taib’s political game

Source: freemalaysiatoday

By Joseph Tawie | March 29, 2012

The Rio Tinto 'pullout' may be linked to the refusal of the federal government to sell Bakun Dam to the chief minister, claims the DAP.

KUCHING: Global mining giant Rio Tinto PLC’s “pullout” from Sarawak may be temporary in view of the 13th general election, the uproar over Lynas in Pahang and the fact that Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has not been able to buy the Bakun Dam from the federal government.

Based on this reality, Sarawak DAP treasurer Violet Yong believes that “they might resume negotiations after the election”.

“Announcing the project [pullout by Rio Tinto] just before the general election is a political gimmick. Also, the reason for the termination is not because they did not agree to the purchase of the price of electricity.

“To me, one of the reasons is that the election is very near. And they [BN leaders] are worried that they will face the same consequences as that of Lynas.

“They have to wait, I think, until after the election; then only they will know whether Pakatan Rakyat takes over the government or not,” she said.

Taib yesterday said Sarawak Corridor for Renewable Energy (SCORE) will not be affected by Rio Tinto’s decision to cancel its RM6.1 billion aluminium smelting project in the state.

“So, as far as Rio Tinto is concerned, they said the company is not going to go for the first phase only and is not going to participate at this stage because they do not want to be tied down,” Taib said.

Based on Taib’s comment that Rio Tinto is likely to return, Yong, who is the Pending assemblywoman, said that Taib could also be waiting to settle outstanding issues with the federal government over the Bakun Dam.

Polluted industry

“We know that Taib wants to buy the Bakun Dam, but Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has issued a statement that his administration will not sell it to Sarawak.

“We know there is a confrontation between the state and the federal governments. Is Sarawak using the back-door pressure (the termination of the agreement) to force the federal government to sell the Bakun Dam?

“To me, the smelter project is only benefiting the cronies of the state government and not the people of Sarawak and not the Malaysian people as a whole.

“We know that the Bakun Dam is a ‘white elephant’. With the cancellation of the aluminium smelting project, it makes the dam a bigger ‘white elephant’,” she added.

Yong said the only way to bring a “permanent closure” to the smelting plant deal is for Sarawakians to vote for Pakatan Rakyat.

“From the beginning until now, the DAP stand is always very firm: we are against the aluminium smelting plant because this is a very polluted industry and many countries have rejected such industry.

“The Barisan Nasional does not want us to use it as an issue in the coming general election,” Yong said.

DAP had used the issue in the last state election when its candidate, Chiew Chu Sing, trounced Sarawak United People’s Party-BN candidate Henry Ling in the Kidurong seat with a 6,930- vote majority.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Unfair Taxi Coupon Payment System

Three taxi drivers came to see me after they were being treated unfairly by the Airport taxi coupon service counter management.

For every passenger they ferried, a taxi driver earned RM26 and that has to be shared with the Airport service counter which took a cut of RM3 after they give the coupon back to the counter in exchange for cash.

Boon Sin Choo was very upset when he came to see me.

He gave 4 coupons to the service counter but not only did he fail to get his money but his coupons were confiscated by the management with the reason that he had tried to reimburse his money after the 14 days period.

The taxi drivers had a year ago been asked to get their cash in exchange for coupons within 14 days from 7.30 am to 5 pm.

Boon also informed that most of time taxi drivers would not be able to exchange cash at once with their coupons. The taxi drivers would have to made several trips before they can get full payment of the money. There is no reason for the management to tell the taxi drivers that there is insufficient cash to pay them when in actual fact all the cash was already received by the management from the sales of the coupons.

It is grossly unfair and unreasonable that taxi drivers had to get their cash within 14 days, failing which all hard earn money of the taxi drivers will be forfeited by the management. Such act is worst than day light robbery!

I am writing in to the Malaysia Airport Holdings to find out why such policies were imposed on taxi drivers and why they were given such a raw deal in so many ways.

To be a taxi driver is already hard and to treat them in such a manner is depressing for them. Afterall, the money was already paid by the passengers in the first place but when it comes to them, there was never enough to pay them.

I hope the authority would do something about it instead of trying to milk out the taxi drivers hard earned cash. Is Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad aware that the counter has imposed such an unfair system? Who has authorised the counter to counter to collect the RM3 service charge?