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Sakmongkol ak 47

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Pahang Bujet 2009.

On Friday, the Pahang MB submitted the 2009 budget before the Dewan Undangan Negeri. Sakmongkol hopes the Pahang ADUNs will debate the budget seriously. Otherwise, people will say, like Mukhriz did during Pak Lah’s speech- nothing new.

Nothing new about the debates, that is. Once again, the budget is a deficit budget. It means, we spend more than we earn. If we look at the reasons, they will become obvious. Our earning are low have something to do with the reduction in commodity prices and so on. Also cost in increasing.

There is nothing new, if ADUNs come out to say the same thing over and over again. The favorite is, oh we need to spend because the government’s effort to eradicate poverty, help the poor, OKU, single mothers and less fortunate must go on. Ini semua betul. No one is denying that we cannot spend. But please apply a little bit of sense, what is the proportion of the budget that is used for this welfare purposes? Welfare expenses are just that- transfers of income without corresponding increase of productivity. All transfer of incomes must be treated with circumspect.

The point is, the transfer of income for the less fortunate is so minuscule such that it cannot be the reason for Pahang to have a deficit budget. This is what sakmongkol says, nothing new. Indeed contrarian views of the deficit in the budget are often met with sarcasm. Goodness of the heart is not the monopoly of those who say, we need to spend because we want to help poor people. They say this and repeat the same mantra because they don’t read the budget and make attempts to understand what a budget is all about.

But sakmongkol wants to touch only on one particular aspect of the Budget Speech at the moment. Pahang’s attempt to secure a business in providing High Speed Broad Band( HSBB) internet services. It is done to Pahang Technology Resources. The PTR has roped in the MB to lead its charge to secure the business. But please don’t embarrass the MB if you are not ready.

Sakmongkol congratulates the PTR for wanting to widen the sources of income for Pahang state. To Sakmongkol it is not just an attempt by Pahang to widen its revenue sources but also represent an attempt to break up the MONOPOLY by Telekom Malaysia.

But before you go into the fight, get your arsenals ready. Equip the MB so that he enters the ring not naked. Has PTR secured a technology partner to offer the BB? Just don’t go in for the sake of going in but without the necessary promise of firepower. Who shall provide the capital? Your partner? The technical expertise? Don’t go in because you are advised by the ragtag army of passable technical friends the PTR has, operating laptops here and there at Starbucks and kopi tiams. Jangan kasi jatuh MB punya kemaluan.

And so perhaps this forced the Pahang MB to lament in hapless tones thus:-

Marilah sama-sama kita berdoa ke hadrat Allah supaya usaha ini berjaya. Jika usaha ini tidak berjaya kita boleh ucapkan Selamat Tinggal kepada usaha mencari punca hasil baru untuk negeri.

Now, will Pahang kiss this project good bye because TELEKOM MALAYSIA HAS BEEN awarded the contract to develop Malaysia's nationwide high-speed broadband (HSBB) network, a project that would cost RM11.31 billion to be built over 10 years.

Under the agreement between the Malaysian government and Telekom Malaysia, the government will invest RM2.4 billion over three years while TM will invest up to RM8.9 billion over 10 years in the project.

The HSBB project will see the deployment of the access, domestic core and international networks to deliver an end-to-end broadband infrastructure. It will have a speed of 10 megabits per second (mbps) and one gbps (gigabit per second) and broadband for general population (BBGP) with a speed of up to two mbps.

But is interesting to note that, under the project, Malaysia will be divided into three zones. Zone One will be covered by HSBB and BBGP, which involves high impact or major economic areas such as Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Penang, while Zone Two will be covered by BBGP. Zone Three refers to the rural areas where the digital divide needs to be addressed with financing from the Universal Service Provision (USP) fund under the Malaysian Communications & Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

Why doesn’t Pahang push for this idea; Instead of conferring a monopoly to Telekom Malaysia, ask the government to divide the whole country into 4 zones. Like USA did on Papa Bell, Mama Bell. For the east coast region for example, PTR could be the provider of a uniform HSBB( not varied like the one proposed by Telekoms). PTR can even invite state investments from Terengganu and Kelantan.

Pahang must attack the idea of this differentiated quality of HSBB proposed by Telekom. Don’t tell sakmongkol that those in the rural areas are not discerning when using internet? The fact they are using internet would suggest that users of the internet, albeit being in rural areas are as progressive of those layabouts in Starbucks in the cities.


Anonymous,  16 November 2008 at 10:43  

tok sak,

tak ada siapa yg akan percaya yg pahang mampu laksana projek broad band berteknologi tinggi kalau hutang yg sedia ada tersenggut-senggut nak bayar. reputasi pegawai2 state agency pahang ni pun tak bagus. bayangkan negeri yg kaya dgn hasil bumi pun dia org boleh buat hampir nak muflis. kalau standard pengurusan macam ni pasti projek broad band tu 100 tahun pun tak akan siap. syukur kerajaan bagi pada telekom malaysia walaupun standard mereka masih boleh dipertikaikan lagi tapi sekurang2nya dah ada rekod buat kerja. kesian jugak pada tok nan kena main main kan dek broker maut ni...

tok sak, elok rasanya u saja jadi penasihat ekonomi pada tok nan. nampak buah fikiran u agak bernas dan matang. imbangan lojik politik dan ekonomi u pun agak seimbang...

Atok Podeh

Anonymous,  16 November 2008 at 11:23  

Salam Tok Sak
The fact that PTR proposed to the governement at the 11th hour has raised a lot of eyebrows. The broadband business is more complex than just laying out the pipes and charging money for it. Even your proposal to cut the market into regions will be tough. What are the challenges?
1. One , will be the capex for the job
2. The returns from the venture. Broadband prices will be slowly and ultimately be regulated by the government. Therfore the prices to the consumers will always be regulated and this means a very very slow rate of return
3. Experiences in building and managing a network oof this size would require a total new investment in people and systems.
Considering the above, the entry barrier in this business is very high indeed. I would think that it is better for Pahang to look at some other revenue streams, maybe forest related products.
Jangan jatuh kemaluan lagi.

walla 16 November 2008 at 14:47  

That Adnan exposed himself to ridicule while trying to do something for his state should not be lost on all. He has shown concern and fighting spirit. In the absence of details on what exactly has been proposed, especially its feasibility plan, one can only assay that what he has tried to do deserves some admiration.

Years ago, someone said that the actual cost of making a local call is only 0.6 sen. Where the profit has gone that makes up to at least 30 sen a call only telecoms people will know. Now, if something goes wrong with your internet connection and you call the service center, they will ask you to toggle your connection or say their side of the port is down in one of their servers. It's the servers and their network which eat up a lot of those profits. Some will add it's also the cost of laying the cables, and maybe that would explain why the fiberisation program hasn't been exactly pervasive up till today. The profit margins are monumental in the hardcore side of telecoms for the very reason it's all almost a closed supply market. If the Pahang team has factored that into their equation, then having more players would make sense. Otherwise it will be just like what has happened to some of the new players in the early 90s. Having said that, one must also be fully acquainted with the imperative of connectivity for state development. It is things like ubiquitous internet access which can provide leverage against the constraints of distance and time. These are limitations faced by people who are geographically disconnected from business hubs which are always located in cities. Pahang being big with her peoples dispersed, the concentration of activity will certainly be better served by wider internet access to the dispersed. Now, whether TMB realizes that enough to have different plans for different states while holding on to one federated framework remains to be seen. But being almost the monopoly, they should see that enough to seriously explore new offerings in wireless WAN and the like in order to bypass the need to lay cables into interiors so that the whole enterprise will not load too much on state budgets or ultimately pass its costs to poor consumers.

Indeed Pahang is one state one would have thought would be more developed today. You can't miss it on the map of the country. But what does it have which its state government can put on its laman web and say 'this is us'? Reservation parks, timber forest and one automotive plant don't a state make. There has to be more. Why not oil? Maybe an oilman can explain why there is oil off Terengganu but not Pahang or Kelantan. It is inconceivable that the process of sedimentation of organic matter that happened millions of years ago just decided to happen off one state and not the neighboring ones. That aside, what about industrial zones? If Kedah wants to be the rice basket of Malaysia, what does Pahang want to be? Furniture-making centre of Malaysia? But there is an eco-conservation movement in the world. So a composite-materials furniture, fixtures and fittings industrial belt of Malaysia? What about biotechnology? There must be thousands of herbal secrets waiting to be unearthed from the jungles of Pahang, and you will need just one super-drug to blast off the whole industry. Not to say reinvent the wheel, maybe more should be done to seriously think of new things people in Pahang can do to improve their livelihood and uplift the state. Sometimes you can get an idea by looking for an equivalent. Say, Melaka. It once was quiet. Then they started two industrial zones. Air Keroh and Batu Berendam. That lifted the state a bit but it is down again. Why? I also understand Rustam's difficulties.

I once tried to help Pahang by chaperoning an entire crew of filmmakers across two countries to do a documentary on one of the islands.

Just as a last remark, until recently, yacht-making was a great sector to be in because one can make a nice one here and it will find a ready market in say Europe. If three-quarters of this planet is ocean, there must be something that Pahang with her long coastline facing Asia can do beyond just fishing. Which leaves one to say: expand those two ports - Kuantan airport and Kuantan seaport. With peripheral warehousing and logistics. These must of course synchronise with two other things: what they are to be used for and how will financing be done. It will be quite cheap for financiers in the Middle East or the Far East to come in and fix up the place for two-way make-and-trade, so that Pahang can reap some benefit on her own. Why, for instance, should tourists from the east have to land at Changi or KLIA when they can land at Kuantan and coach their way to the west coast, along the journey of which partake a series of new things that will give them satisfaction they can't buy back home? Action safari, for instance. Foreign tourist goods sold along the Pahang east-west highway, for instance.

When one sees people suffering, something must be done. Betultak?

D S N 16 November 2008 at 16:38  

The full & complete original Budget speech can be read in my blog. Reproduced to ensure its originality.
Thank you and salam
Yours faithfully,
Dato' Shamsuddin Bin Haji Nawawi
Political Secretary to the Chief Minister of Pahang.

Blogger Pahang 16 November 2008 at 16:38  

Salam Dato'. Saya himpunkan blog Dato' dlm blog Himpunan Blog Pahang.

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