Thursday, June 26, 2008

Malaysian Taxi Standardisation

Malaysia Today reported Proton Likely To Gain From Govt's Malaysian Taxi Plan.

Important excerpts from the article
A) Datuk Noh Omar Wednesday said the Cabinet has asked the ministry to discuss with Proton, requesting the national car producer to design and manufacture a taxi that portrays the image of the country.

B) Azlan also confirmed that Proton will launch a taxi and car that are fitted with natural gas for vehicle (NGV) facility within this year. "We have already started the project, where cars like Proton Saga, Waja and Wira as well as Persona will be fitted with NGV facility. So, it can use bi-fuel, petrol as well as NGV and also it would be cheaper as it is done in the factory," he said.

1) On statement A, I wonder whether it is necessary to create a new car that truly reflects the national identity. Currently, from what I can see, Malaysia already have a few variants, with the majority resembling the model in the picture below. To top it all off, almost all taxis in Malaysia are Protons. The model below is the Proton Iswara version.

(Pic : Current Malaysian taxis on the road)

2) Going by the assumption there is an intention to standardise the taxis in Malaysia, presumably only a few versions will be allowed, one wonders what would happen to the older taxis taking the picture above as an example. Will the owners of the older taxis be forced to change theirs to new standard versions? Who will bear the costs of making that change if it is not the taxi owners themselves?

3) Assuming the owners will be the bearer of the costs of compulsory change, wouldn't the standardisation burden them in this day of economic uncertainty and fuel price hike?

4) The government (BN) advised the citizens to "Change their lifestyle" due to the recent unconscionable Fuel Price Hike in the beginning of June 2008. The public was very unhappy with the move despite the advice. Should point 3 be true, would taxi fares be raised to pass on some costs to the users (public)?

5) Supposing points 3 and 4 be realised, wouldn't Malaysian citizens (both the groups of taxi owners and users) suffer from the heavy costs of standardisation?

6) Since there is a discussion between the Ministry with Proton, is there any money given to Proton from public funds for the project? If "yes", why? Is Proton doing good in business these days?

7) There should not be much opposition towards standardisation when the economy is doing good. The money should have been placed into better use since "image standardisation" is a complimentary rather than an essential process in this time of price inflation.

8) On statement B, the move is anticipatory. NGV does save costs but this should not be used as a basis for using public funds on the standardisation process.

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