29 February 2020, Saturday | 02:27am

Fighting with the Marie Biscuit


My uncle, alone in Tunjang has been a paddy farmer with a small plot of land but he hardly has enough to eat. At 62, he gets up too early in the morning and starts the day with rokok daun, has his coffee with Marie biscuits and has his bath sometimes forced to, with sabun cap kapak. His whole life has been pretty much this humble routine. His padi, his rokok daun, and luxurious Marie Biscuit for which he pays SST.

My uncle has never really ventured out but the SST that he pays on tembakau and biscuits goes a long way to support corporate high-flying aviation companies such as AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines and Malaysia Airports, having not mentioned foreigners and other airlines. SST goes into a consolidated Government fund from which these high flyers get subsidies from.

What an irony! Local travellers for holidaying overseas and foreigners with money to party in Malaysia are indeed supported by my uncle who views the Marie Biscuit as a luxury food item! Why should billions of Ringgit be poured into airport development from the meagre SST monies from people with a meagre existence?

Sad state of affairs due to lack of guts to tell off the people wielding market power? Why is there argument on passenger service charge (PSC / airport tax)? Can’t our policy makers make that simple call that international aviation shall not be subsidised by my uncle’s Marie biscuits’ SST? If you want to travel overseas, either you pay or you don’t travel. Some of our regulators are not perfect but at least one or two are making an effort to make airport services INDEPENDENT on non-traveller’s money. It is cruel for my uncle to support such a luxury through his Marie biscuits and tembakau!

Come on, smart people! Let the PSCs support the industry and let my uncle’s SST go for rural roads, clinics and caring for the invalid. Why lower PSC for low cost airlines’ travellers when they use similar services as others? Are their passengers poor? Why lower PSC for ASEAN travellers when they use exactly same services as the other international travellers? If we are so rich to subsidise ASEAN travel, please let that subsidy NOT come from my uncle’s tembakau or rokok daun or Marie biscuit!

While this is unsettled, some “tax experts” have found new ways of making money for government with a levy on air passengers. Can’t these tax experts understand that the government will save a lot more by making the airports and airlines NON-dependent on government first? The savings will be in multiples of billions in Ringgit as compared to 500 million Ringgit per annum from the levy!

- Kampung economist

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Kwiknews.

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