(Petaling Jaya, Monday): It was reported today that Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, said yesterday that the Transport Ministry would review the increase of Public Service Vehicle (PSV) driving licences from RM10 to RM50, affecting taxi-drivers and lorry-drivers as the 400 per cent increase of this licence under the 1998 Budget was too steep and creates hardships all-round.
The 400% increase of Public Service Vehicle (PSV) driving licence from RM10 to RM50 is illegal and is not part of the 1998 Budgetary proposals presented to Parliament by the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, on Oct. 17.
MPs only heard the increase of motor vehicle driving licence rate of RM20 per year to RM50 a year, but no MP heard the 400 per cent increase of the PSV licence from RM10 to RM50. This is why this shocking 400 per cent hike of the PSV licence was never reported in the press the next day or the subsequent few days.
The question is not the review of the 400 per cent increase of PSV licence from RM10 to RM50 a year, but why the Transport Minister allowed Road Transport Department to arbitrarily impose such a hike in the PSV licence, claiming that it was part of the 1998 budgetary proposals submitted by Anwar Ibrahim, when it was not the case. Furthermore, why was Parliament misled that there was no increase in PSV licence, when in fact the JPJ was imposing a 400 per cent increase?
I have re-read the 1998 Budget speech of Anwar Ibrahim and I can confirm there is no announcement of such 400 per cent PSV licence increase.
I have also checked the appendix to the 1998 Budget speech which give full details of the new budgetary proposals, which is Appendix XXX for the increase for motor vehicle driving licence, which I reproduce in full as follows:
"PROPOSAL TO INCREASE MOTOR VEHICLE DRIVING LICENCE
"The present motor vehicle driving licence rate of RM20 per year has not been increased since 1970. However cost for issuing the licence has increased. Therefore it is proposed that the rate of driving licence for Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak be increased as follows:
(a) all driving licence fees other than for motorcycle licence, International Driving Permit (IDP) and Probationary Licence (P) be increased to RM50 per year. However for IDP the rate be increased to RM150 per year and the rate for P licence is RM100 for two (2) years;
(b) for motocycle licence (including P licence and Learnerís Licence) the present rate be maintained; and
(c) For all Learnerís Licences (excluding motorcycle) the rates are increased to RM30 (for 3 months) and RM60 (for 6 months).
"For driving licence of various categories of vehicles in (a) and (b), in case more than one fee is applicable, the fee applicable is based on which ever rate is higher. This review does not apply to Class A licence (disabled person).
"This proposal is to take effect from 18 October 1997."
There was not a word about increase in PSV licence, let alone a shocking 400 per cent increase, which would have set off a national howl of protest immediately after the budget presentation itself on Oct. 17. How come this 400 per cent PSV licence increase was hidden somewhere, where nobody has been able to find even up to now?
I call on the Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to inquire how such a fiasco in his 1998 Budget could happen, and to take the necessary action against the public officials responsible.
A full explanation is also expected from the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik, for such a fiasco in his Ministry.