4th February 2022
The Government Must Quickly Reverse Electricity Tariffs Hike On Businesses To Help Address The Six Immediate Concerns Of Businesses That May Adversely Impact The 2022 Economic Performance
The Government must reverse electricity tariffs hike on businesses immediately to help address the six immediate concerns of businesses that may adversely impact their company’s profitability and survival as well as the 2022 economic performance to pull the country out of the current recession.
Despite greater business activity during the Chinese New Year period, the primary concern is surprisingly a shortage of workers to cater to the heightened demand. The inability to source workers has forced some businesses to “rest” during this normally busy and lucrative period.
The second concern is inflation and rising prices of not just food but also basic commodities. The imposition of higher electricity tariffs on businesses through a surcharge and withdrawal of rebates is not helped by a weakening ringgit that increases the price of imports. More than 1.6 million commercial and industrial users will be paying up to nearly 20% more for electricity from 1 February, leading to increased prices for their goods and services.
Why should consumers pay more just to shore up the profitability of one single company, Tenaga Nasional Bhd, further? Prior to this new tariff hike, Tenaga had recorded a 9.6 % and 4.6 per % increase in revenue and earnings respectively for the nine months ending with September 30 2021. Isn’t that sufficient when many companies are barely surviving? Tenaga should not be overly protected at the expense of millions of struggling businesses still emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The third concern is government red-tape, inefficiency and serial policy flip-flops and U-turns that causes confusion instead of certainty, disruption instead of reliability and breeds doubt instead of confidence. The fourth concern is growing corruption exemplified by the drastic drop in the 2021 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index to No. 62 from No. 51 in 2019 that will only add on to business costs.
The fifth concern is the incompetence and failure of the government to harness the high-tech benefits of automation, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things(IOT) and also 5G to quickly put Malaysia up to speed and not be left behind by countries like Vietnam or Thailand. The final sixth concern is the government’s failure to respond to their own promise to consider an extension of the bank loan moratorium and interest waiver by another 6 months to help businesses emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession to survive and thrive.
Surprisingly concerns for the COVID-19 pandemic have receded, provided the government keeps its promises not to re-impose the disastrous serial total lockdowns that have proven to be unsuccessful in eliminating COVID-19 and failed the economy completely, causing the country to spiral downwards into a painful recession. Will the government act or continue to sleep on their jobs by focusing on their political survival more than the people’s interests?
Lim Guan Eng
MP For Bagan