Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 15.10.2013.
Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad(Prasarana) Should Explain How A Business Model Based On Double-Standards Can Be Both Profitable And Fulfill Its Statutory Duty Of Providing A “Public Good” Of A Reliable And Efficient Public Transport.
Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad(Prasarana) should explain how a business model based on double-standards can be both profitable and fulfill its statutory duty of providing a “public good” of a reliable and efficient public transport. This follows Prasarana’s rejection of the Penang state government’s offer of a RM 10 million annual grant in 2011 to provide free bus rides throughout the state of Penang for 7 hours during the peak hours of 6-9am and 4.30pm-8.30pm from Mondays to Fridays.
Prasarana group managing director Datuk Shahril Mokhtar said that accepting the RM10 million annual grant from the Penang state government would worsen the government-linked company’s (GLC) financial position, but he did not state the losses that would be incurred if the offer was accepted. This offer was concluded verbally with all parties concerned during a meeting in Kuala Lumpur in 2011 but was never implemented even though the state government had followed up in writing.
If Prasarana is suddenly so obsessed about profits, then why did they pay in 2011, 1.5 to 2 months bonuses to their staff which is higher than the 1 month bonus received by ordinary government civil servants, despite Prasarana suffering huge losses of RM 763 million? The Auditor-General’s Report 2012 revealed that seven Government-linked corporations(GLCs) rewarded their employees with bonuses despite recording combined losses amounting to RM2bil in 2011.
Prasarana paid its employees between 1.5 months to two months bonus despite suffering a loss of RM763 million in 2011, whilst Cyvberview paid its staff two and a half months bonus despite losing RM 254 million as shown below. No one questions those who receive a one-month bonus, similar in amount given to the 1.2 million Federal government civil servants. But why should the staff working GLCs receive more if they were making losses just like the Federal government’s losses from the budget deficit?
I wish to correct the misleading impression given by some papers that I was not concerned about GLCs making a profit. I was only highlighting the double-standards practice by Prasarana.
For Prasarana to suddenly talk about the importance of profitability in the provision of a public good such as public transport, smacks of double-standards because Prasarana did not think of profitability when paying out higher bonuses despite incurring huge losses. Why talk of profitability now to the Penang state government when the Penang state government wants to give money to increase public transport usage from the current low level of less than 7% in the city and less than 3% statewide for the whole state of Penang?
If Prasarana can not fulfil this statutory duty of providing a public good, let the state government take over buses and public transport. The sad fact of centralisation of powers by the BN Federal government is that the state government can not run public transport even is it is not paid by the federal government.
LIM GUAN ENG
— Chinese version —