Wednesday 15 August 2012

PKR takes cheap cars promise to the roads

PETALING JAYA, Aug 15 ― PKR launched today a nationwide campaign promoting its promise of lower car prices, and will distribute stickers and flyers this weekend at toll booths in a bid to pressure the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government on an issue the party hopes will gain traction among voters ahead of elections.

The party has promised to make cars cheaper by slashing the triple tax burden imposed on cars if the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) opposition pact takes power at the 13th general election that must be called by next April.

“The ‘Turunkan Harga Kereta’ campaign will take advantage of the ‘balik kampung’ holidays in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilfitri so information about Keadilan’s proposal to reduce car prices by gradual abolishment of excise duties will reach the whole country,” said Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, PKR’s communications director, at a press conference today.

Muslim Malaysians celebrating Aidilfitri this weekend, to mark the end of their month-long fast, traditionally spend the holidays in their hometowns ― turning Kuala Lumpur and other major cities nationwide into ghost towns.

He told reporters that 50,000 “Turunkan Harga Kereta (Lower Car Prices)” vehicle stickers have been printed and will be distributed at toll booths throughout the country.

The car stickers and flyers explaining PKR’s proposal will also be given out during a nationwide tour dubbed “Jelajah Turunkan Harga Kereta” starting from August 24, Nik Nazmi said.

“We want the rakyat to take ownership of it and spread it,” said Sim Tze Tzin, the party’s deputy information chief who was also present.

“We want to learn from a few successful campaigns,” he said, pointing to yesterday’s Internet Blackout Day movement, which Sim said had “forced the government to review (Section) 114A” of Evidence Act that came into force just two weeks ago on July 31.

The car price campaign will also have its own Facebook page.

The page will contain information on a series of public forums that will be held in several states to discuss the issue, starting September 2.

Nik Nazmi said PKR will ensure the logo for the campaign would not “represent any political element so all Malaysians regardless of political belief and background can unite and agree” to lower car prices.

Malaysians pay inordinately high prices for cars mainly because of the protection afforded to national carmaker Proton since 1984, and Perodua since the 1990s.

The public pays import and excise duties as well as sales taxes that translate into some of the highest car prices in the region and the world.

A recent wage survey found that a household earning RM3,000 a month could spend up to 50 per cent of its income on maintaining a car.

A cut in car duties — which currently run as high as 105 per cent — could help stimulate the economy by boosting disposable income and reducing household debt burden, analysts have also told The Malaysian Insider.

The high taxes now have resulted in about 20 per cent of the RM581 billion total household debt in the country last year being held in cars, an asset that depreciates over time.

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