Plus and minus

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Do you own a PLUS tag? Well, be very careful. PLUS tags are hot items for petty thieves and drug addicts. If you display your PLUS tag on your windscreen as required, they will smash your side window to steal your tag. You will not only have to pay the replacement cost of your tag but for your new side window as well.

When you go to the PLUS office to lodge a report you will be told they cannot do anything about it. In fact, the PLUS office will tell you, every day hundreds of PLUS tags get stolen and side windows smashed in the process. All they can do is advice you, next time, not to leave your PLUS tag fixed to your windscreen but remove it and carry it around in your pocket; as if you do not have enough things to carry around in your pocket as it is.

It is puzzling why they need to record your particulars like name, address and identity card number when you buy the PLUS tag. The tags come with serial numbers and these too, as well as your vehicle registration number, are all recorded. When your drive through the PLUS toll plazas they know who you are and what is the balance on your tag, plus from which entry you got onto the PLUS Highway.

But they are not able to stop thieves who use a stolen PLUS tag from driving through the toll plaza.

Actually, they can if they want to. I once lost my PLUS tag and reported it stolen. A few days later they managed to stop the car that drove through the Damansara Toll Plaza using my stolen tag and repossessed it. They did not, however, apprehend the thief as he is from a ‘big shot’ Malay family from Taman Tun Dr Ismail. Anyway, I was happy enough to get back my tag, minus my credits though, that I did not raise a fuss.

Recently, my car was broken into and, again, I lost my tag. But this time PLUS told me they cannot do anything about it as there are just too many tags being stolen every day and they are not able to check all the cars driving through the toll plazas. Their advice: buy a new one and keep in my pocket this time.

While I was lodging my report at the PLUS office there were many others there as well, some who had lost their tags more than once.

Now I know how PLUS makes its money — selling more than one tag to the same person. Oh, and the tags do not always work so be very careful for when you exit at the next toll plaza you will be hit with a RM50 fine. This has happened to me twice so far.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat is on the warpath. It is MINUS about RM700,000, the amount of money the candidates in the last election still owe the party.

In the recent general election in March 2004, the party loaned out about RM1.3 million to help the various candidates pay for their deposits. Half a year later and more than half still remains unpaid.

Some candidates refuse to refund the money because they said they had spent quite a bit of their own money in the election and they want the party to reimburse them for their expenses. Then there are candidates from Kelantan who have since resigned from the party and joined PAS (Islamic party of Malaysia); in violation of the agreement against pinching members. They now, of course, regard that money as their ‘going away’ present. What is even more hilarious are some of the Sabah candidates who never even contested in the election. After receiving their ‘loans’ from the party, they walked over to Barisan Nasional and collected a pay off to withdraw, allowing the Barisan Nasional candidate an uncontested win.

Wan Razali, a lawyer by profession and a candidate for Selangor, is outraged. PAS fielded a candidate in his constituency resulting in a three corner fight. Wan Razali lost his deposit, money he borrowed from loan sharks (Ah Long) at a high interest rate.

Wan Razali wants the party to consider severing its ties with PAS on what he says is a treacherous act by the Islamic party. Wan Razali also wants the names of all those who have “run away with the party’s money” to be made public.

And this is exactly what Parti Keadilan will do next month at its first Congress. The names of all those delinquents or defaulters will be displayed on the board for all and sundry to see.

Expect a round of resignations soon as those who know the game is up will choose the route taken by those Kelantan candidates — go join PAS.

Anwar Ibrahim is currently in South Africa. Many have phoned or e-mailed Malaysia Today enquiring as to why we did not mention anything about the trip or cover the events there. Well, Malaysiakini and Harakah Daily have been appointed the official news agencies to report on this trip so readers will have to go there to read about it.

While on the issue of Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia Today has appealed to Kirdatun Borhan not to retire her column, Batu Giling, just yet. As we have always propagated, it does not matter whether Malaysia Today agrees with her views or not. We will nevertheless defend her right to air them.

We hope, though, we can get the other side of the story from Anwar Ibrahim, even if Anwar would rather give his story to Malaysiakini or Harakah Daily.