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Police Brutality In Arresting 18 Men And 2 Women Protesting The Electricity Tariff Hike Shows That The Government Has Not Learnt The Lessons Of The Sarawak State Elections Protesting At The Failure To Look After The Welfare Of The People.

Media Statement

by Lim Guan Eng

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): DAP strongly deplores the police for their unprovoked violence in arresting 20 persons protesting against the fuel and electricity tariff hike by the government at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre yesterday. Police brutality in arresting 18 men and 2 women protesting the electricity tariff hike shows that the government has not learnt the lessons of the Sarawak state elections protesting at the failure to look after the welfare of the people.

The government should heed the lessons of the Sarawak general elections protesting at the financial hardships of the fuel hike where the few cronies of BN are allowed to garner huge profits at the expense of the people. By increasing electricity tariffs by 12% after their losses in the Sarawak general election results indicates not only the strong denial syndrome in the government but their arrogance that they can still continue to do what they like even if the people suffers.


DAP express surprise at the economic denial syndrome of BN leaders in believing that Malaysia is enjoying good economic progress benefiting all Malaysians to the extent that the economic growth rate would be 6% this year better than last year’s 5.3%. This ignores the economic hardships of ordinary Malaysians faced with the highest inflation  in 7 years of 4.8% in March 2006.


How then can Malaysia enjoy a higher economic growth rate than last year’s 5.3% when all sectors of the economy except the Independent Power Producers(IPPs) who are earning exorbitant profits at public expense. Under the current structure, TNB pays IPPs a “capacity charge” and an “energy charge”. A capacity charge is payment made for making available a certain level of capacity, while the energy charge is payment for electricity actually supplied to TNB. This means TNB would have to pay for spare capacity or reserve margins, even if unused. Power purchase from IPPs makes up almost half of TNB's operating costs. For the year ended Aug 31, 2005, TNB paid RM3.3bil in capacity payments and RM3.14bil in energy payments. 


Such high capacity payments of RM 3.3 billion last year have resulted in the TNB having one of the highest reserve margin in the world of 40% by paying for energy TNB does not need. If the reserve margin were reduced from the present 40% to 26%, TNB would save more than RM1.5 billion annually, which is more than sufficient to cover the RM 1.5 billion increase in revenue from the present 12% tariff hike.


Consequently there would be no necessity for any tariff hike. Why should consumers be asked to sacrifice but not the IPPs who are allowed to continue to enjoy high rates of returns and hefty profits unaffected by high fuel prices?


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi claimed that he can not act unilaterally against the IPPs, but DAP wishes to remind him that he was elected with a huge mandate of 91% of the Parliamentary seats to defend and safeguard the interests of ordinary Malaysians and not that of the IPPs. DAP regrets that the Prime Minister has allowed Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik to betray his mandate and sell out the interests of consumers.


Yesterday’s violence by the police in beating up peaceful demonstrators has highlighted the need to quickly establish a Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to stop abuses of human rights by the police. DAP urges the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to act quickly to regain the initiative over his agenda of anti-corruption, transparency, accountability and good governance 

Abdullah’s National Mission to establish a first-class mentality, a First World civil service and a developed country can not succeed if the police is unwilling to reform itself to a clean, incorruptible, efficient, human rights-sensitive, professional world-class police service. Only the IPCMC can serve the larger national interest of having a police force that is seen as the protector of the people to fight crime and maintain order, efficient and effective as well as a friend in need that is respected and trusted.                          


* Lim Guan Eng,  DAP Secretary General

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