Terengganu decides to opt for the Mercedes Benz E200K over the Proton Perdana V6. The newspapers decide to comment on this which led to a supposedly outcry of misuse of government funds. The reason, according to the person in charge was that it costs a ridiculous amount of money to maintain a 4 year old Perdana. I somehow admit that the figure of RM174,000.00+ for a single over a 4 year period is ridiculous but unsurprisingly as I believe that the government is being short-changed by their contractors yet again. I know Perdanas are slightly expensive to maintain as company cars, but an average figure of RM43,750.00 per year over 4 years is astounding.
Nevertheless, it could happen as if we factor in the contractors billing the government for using ‘brand new’ spare parts such a thing could happen. I have in the last decade inquired a brand new automatic gearbox from Proton for a friend’s 3 speed automatic and the figure that came back to me was an incredible RM20,000.00. RM20,000.00 for an outdated piece of gear changing device. Needless to say, my friend opted for a second hand item that only cost him RM1,200.00 inclusive of labour at that point of time. Imagine what Proton or the government contractors would want to charge for a ‘brand new’ Perdana gearbox then?
Now imagine the Terengganu State Government Perdanas having a slightly strenuous work load. These cars are driven by drivers who basically have no care in the world about avoiding potholes on the road, keeping the engines running for long hours while being stationary, hardly any warmup period for the gearbox and engine before starting and driving off and other abusive driving styles that most staff drivers and company/government pool car users utilise.
You then have to know that the Perdana V6 has always had gearbox problems ever since it first came out. It was only during the latest round of facelifts that the car was given its own dedicated transmission fluid cooler for the gearbox and even then, we have still heard the gearbox dying. I have an acquaintance or two which are car enthusiasts who drive the Perdana V6 and both have had at least 2 gearbox changes on their ride to date. Both, after their second autobox decided to convert to the Mitsubishi 5 speed manual and have been happy campers ever since. Some are lucky, but their cars are hardly abused or neglected and they keep to their rigid maintenance schedule when it comes to servicing the car. But do you think that the State Government cars are maintained as religiously as they are supposed to be? I doubt so.
So the Terengganu Government bought some Mercedes Benzes to replace the Perdana V6s. I suppose some patriotic people are arguing that this is wrong and we should support our national product. These group of people should realise that even being patriotic or nationalistic should be up to a point of being realistic and not just being full of blind pride. The Perdana is a bloody OLD car, get it? It has been around since 1995 and has only been facelifted more times than Joan Collins has been under the scalpel. It is one of those cars that should have been put to sleep at the very least 3 years ago. This supposedly middle executive car is no longer refined as what a middle executive car should have been. You take a look at the current benchmark of a small family sedan, the Honda Civic and you can tell that refinement, performance and everything has moved a notch higher than the Perdana which is supposedly a Honda Accord competitor. I won’t even compare the Perdana with the Accord as it’s that pathetic. Proton should have a replacement for this model soon and this is an order from me, not a statement.
There is another group who is arguing that Terengganu shoudn’t be spending so much of their money in times of political and economic turmoil. If they wanted to replace the Perdanas they should not buy luxury cars. The problem with the State Secretary’s explaination is that he is saying that the State is not using the funds that are from the oil revenue that the State receives but from its normal allocation / collection. Look, is he saying that if the State were to utilise the oil revenue they would be buying Rolls Royce Phantoms for each of the State’s EXCO members and legal advisors and so forth? Somehow, in times where the ruling coalition, i.e. Barisan Nasional is getting hit left, right and centre on everything that they do, they should be buying sensible cars. This isn’t the time for them to be rewarding themselves. This is the time to prove their worth till the next general elections. Spending money like this is another dumb move.
The move which they should have done is buy the Toyota Camry. This car is assembled locally and everyone knows that this decent unclemobile is a good, sensible car to buy and maintain and it only costs RM150,000.00 with taxes. The price could be a sensible RM100,000.00 or below without tax. Toyotas almost never break down. But noooooooo, they are thinking with their egos and desires. Desire has a new name and it ain’t the Satria Neo. It’s the Terengganu State Government EXCO members!