I REFER to the article, "Customs D-G: Slashing excise duty on cars will hurt nation's progress" (NST, July 28) and do not agree with the contention.
To argue that the nation's progress relies on excessive taxes on cars is a rather unfair burden on all car users, especially the middle class.
Car loan repayments to financial institutions constitute one of the largest financial burdens to the average Malaysian. That is not right. Because of the heavy commitment for car repayments, a middle-class Malaysian has to sacrifice many things, including buying a home.
Compared with many countries, including Australia and the United States, cars in Malaysia are very expensive. They are so expensive that a big portion of income goes to repayment of the car loan, which often drags on for nine years.
As a developing nation, I am of the view that expenses on subsidies, like petrol subsidies, must be reduced to lessen the burden on government expenses.
It was reported earlier that the Malaysian government spends more than RM17 billion on petrol subsidies a year. That the Malaysian government's debts have reached close to the maximum recommended by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund is also a cause for concern.
Targeted assistance to Malaysian citizens living below the poverty line (hardcore poor) is understandable, and is a must.
But subsidising each and every Malaysian, irrespective of their economic status, is wrong and unwarranted. The average Malaysian should be able to stand on his own feet.
I propose that taxes on cars be reduced gradually, say, over five years, and the petrol subsidies also be reduced gradually over that time period. Let the free market determine our destiny and let the government do the governing.
Compassion for the hardcore poor should be our moral compass.