This year’s UMNO Youth General Assembly has reduced to a circus. UMNO Youth Leader Khairy Jamaluddin is behaving exactly like a circus primate, trying to pander to the gallery and entertain them with his follies. The more recent is the TNB hike, announced a few days ago by the Minister in-charge for Energy, Water and Green Technology Dato’ Dr Maximus Ongkili.
Khairy slams TNB
KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 4, 2013): As criticisms mount over Tenaga National Berhad’s decision to hike electricity rates, a Cabinet minister unexpectedly took the power giant to task for being more concerned about its shareholders than the people.
Youth and Sports Minister and Umno chief Khairy Jamaluddin, in a strongly-worded comment, said the increase in tariffs is only to”pad up” TNB’s profits.
In his policy speech at the Umno Youth assembly today, he said the hike was not in keeping with the quantum of increase in fuel prices.
Later at a press conference, he said he had raised the matter in the Cabinet.
“I am bound by the Cabinet decision but, as (Umno) Youth chief, I felt the need to raise it (displeasure over the tariff hike). I also raised it in Cabinet.
“There are two parts to the hike, one is about the rising cost of fuel. We understand that but TNB’s profits are just too high,” he said.
Khairy explained that TNB had justified the hike on the need to invest in technology and the low returns on its investment.
“But for me and the rakyat, that is not good enough,” he added.
In his speech, Khairy said TNB and other government-linked companies should not be overly-driven by financial performance alone, adding that their responsibilities to the people must “never be forgotten”.
TNB had announced that electricity rates will be up by 14.98% for Peninsular Malaysia and 16.9% for Sabah and Labuan from Jan 1.
In George Town, both DAP and Gerakan came out against the tariff hike, with DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng saying the increase was untimely and unjustified.
He said the cost of doing business is set to increase with the price of goods and services expected to cost more.
“Whether it is a packet of noodles, a simple meal or just a haircut, prices will shoot up and everyone will feel the pinch,” the Penang chief minister said in a statement.
Penang Gerakan secretary Oh Tong Keong echoed Lim’s sentiments and urged the government to review the increase.
He said a review could avoid a chain reaction on prices of goods, adding that the public and private sectors should review salaries to help people cope better with the expected increase in the cost of living.
“It is only with a higher income that the people can cope with higher expenses,” he said.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have voiced that worries that the new electricity tariff could dent the country’s competitiveness.
SME Association Malaysia (Samenta) vice-president Well Kam said high energy bills could make the country less attractive for investors.
He urged the government to consider offering concessions to those who have reached a state-determined energy efficiency rating.
“It is important to improve energy efficiency, productivity and enhance education on energy management too,” he said.
The fact is that, it is wrong for KJ to take out on TNB for this. TNB produce electricity with production and distribution cost attached to every KW/H of power unit. The cost of production rest heavily on the cost of fuel.
77% of TNB power generation comes from hydrocarbon plants. 60% of those are gas powered plants.
Presently, these power plants only pay 65% of market price for natural gas which is the fuel for these plants to power up. If the cost for the supply of natural gas go up, then naturally tariffs would have to rise too.
Khairy Jamaluddin is a Cabinet Minister. He could use his resources to find out about these things and rationalise that it is not TNB which wanted the rise in tariff. Then again, the Minister in-charge is the one who announced it. Which means the tariff hike is with Cabinet approval.
The matter must have been brought up to Cabinet for deliberation first before an approval on the tariff hike is given.
KJ as a Minister and UMNO Youth Leader, should use his exposure and access to information to explain and make his dominions understand better. The matter could be rationalised, even to younger Malaysians. No need to add salt to injury and fuel to fire. Even for the sake of political drama, in a once a year show.
TNB is an agency under Khazanah Nasional Bhd. Like any another GLC, TNB is expected to fend for themselves and be financially independent instead of getting investment injection from Khazanah or Federal Government (via Ministry of Finance) for much needed capital ever so often. This include working capital, where TNB is expected to pay power producers and fuel suppliers promptly.
TNB also is required to do periodical maintenance and necessary capital expenditure, asset regeneration and replacement programs to ensure that power production is continuous without any glitch what so ever. This also to ensure the redundant and back up system is in the state of readiness for any emergency. It is more so important as the nation move forward towards high income economy and industry is the main economic bloodline.
Therefor it is imperative that TNB remains financially sound. Capital expenditure, asset regeneration and replacement cost a lot of fresh capital injection. TNB being profitable means that the GLC could afford to raise the much needed capital injection internally, without going back to Khazanah or MOF. Nor they expose the national power generation corporation for more borrowings.
Hence, TNB is profitable. Thanks to the previous CEO Dato’ Seri Che Khalib Mohd. Noh, TNB’s assets, commercial commitments and debts have be restructured and rationalised. TNB no longer owe so many parties as high as it was, ten years ago.
It is ashamed that KJ is seizing the moment trying to popularize himself as an UMNO Youth Leader championing the rakyat’s cause, at the expense to lambasting TNB. That behaviour is no different than a Circus Chimpanzee, throwing creampies to fellow clowns to draw laughter from the audience.