- TNB pay hikes sinful, says DAP
- In Japan, a Culture That Promotes Nuclear Dependency
Posted: 02 Jun 2011 08:55 PM PDT
Posted: 02 Jun 2011 08:46 PM PDT
Posted: 02 Jun 2011 07:02 PM PDT
Source: Free Malaysia Today
Patrick Lee | June 2, 2011
Charles Santiago calls on the government to ensure that GLCs spread their wealth towards the bottom.
Klang MP Charles Santiago said TNB's decision to give such dramatic rewards to the bosses was especially contemptible when one considered how little it was paying its general workers.
"This is sinful," he said. "TNB staff are some of the lowest paid workers in the country. What is Che Khalib Mohamad Noh doing to earn RM1.8 million a year?"
Che Khalib is TNB's executive director. FMT reported today that his basic annual salary for last year was RM1.2 million, double the amount he got in 2009. TNB's second executive director, Azwan Mohd, who was appointed in April 2010, received a total remuneration of RM755,320.22, including his basic salary of RM457,440.
These figures are available in the company's 2010 annual report.
In the same year, TNB kept its minimum wage at RM750 a month, only slightly higher than Pos Malaysia's RM635.
Santiago, an economist, said government-linked companies (GLCs) tended to be top-heavy and called on the government to cap salaries for the bosses so that wealth could be spread towards the bottom through better wage schemes.
He said this would encourage the GLC staff in their work and relieve the pressure on them to moonlight in second jobs or lean towards corruption in order to survive.
Union gets ultimatum
TNB employees said that it was a challenge getting their company to raise their salaries, even as it was enjoying rising profits.
The president of the TNB Junior Officers Union, Mohd Roszeli Majid, told FMT that the company's management was adamant on keeping their wages low.
"In the fourth round of collective bargaining yesterday, the management offered us a 6% salary increase," he said.
The union initially asked for a 25% increase across the board, but brought this down to 10% after several sessions of negotiation.
According to Roszeli, the management yesterday gave the union an ultimatum: take 7.5% or leave it.
TNB staff receive a monthly electricity subsidy of RM78, and Roszeli said the company was merely "considering" an increase from this amount following the recent electricity tariff hike.
According to the annual report, TNB Group in 2010 made RM30,320.1 million in revenues and RM4,182.7 million in operating profits.
Posted: 02 Jun 2011 12:22 AM PDT
Source: Sin Chew
Posted: 02 Jun 2011 12:12 AM PDT
Source: The New York Times
Ko Sasaki for The New York Times
The Chugoku Electric nuclear power plant in Kashima. A third reactor is currently under construction.
By MARTIN FACKLER and NORIMITSU ONISHI
Published: May 30, 2011
KASHIMA, Japan — When the Shimane nuclear plant was first proposed here more than 40 years ago, this rural port town put up such fierce resistance that the plant's would-be operator, Chugoku Electric, almost scrapped the project. Angry fishermen vowed to defend areas where they had fished and harvested seaweed for generations.
Fishermen in Kashima, on the Sea of Japan, fiercely resisted plans for a nuclear plant 40 years ago. Now, many embrace the largess it provided.
Two decades later, when Chugoku Electric was considering whether to expand the plant with a third reactor, Kashima once again swung into action: this time, to rally in favor. Prodded by the local fishing cooperative, the town assembly voted 15 to 2 to make a public appeal for construction of the $4 billion reactor.
Kashima's reversal is a common story in Japan, and one that helps explain what is, so far, this nation's unwavering pursuit of nuclear power: a lack of widespread grass-roots opposition in the communities around its 54 nuclear reactors. This has held true even after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami generated a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi station that has raised serious questions about whether this quake-prone nation has adequately ensured the safety of its plants. So far, it has spurred only muted public questioning in towns like this.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan has, at least temporarily, shelved plans to expand Japan's use of nuclear power — plans promoted by the country's powerful nuclear establishment. Communities appear willing to fight fiercely for nuclear power, despite concerns about safety that many residents refrain from voicing publicly.
To understand Kashima's about-face, one need look no further than the Fukada Sports Park, which serves the 7,500 mostly older residents here with a baseball diamond, lighted tennis courts, a soccer field and a $35 million gymnasium with indoor pool and Olympic-size volleyball arena. The gym is just one of several big public works projects paid for with the hundreds of millions of dollars this community is receiving for accepting the No. 3 reactor, which is still under construction.
As Kashima's story suggests, Tokyo has been able to essentially buy the support, or at least the silent acquiescence, of communities by showering them with generous subsidies, payouts and jobs. In 2009 alone, Tokyo gave $1.15 billion for public works projects to communities that have electric plants, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Experts say the majority of that money goes to communities near nuclear plants.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg, experts say, as the communities also receive a host of subsidies, property and income tax revenues, compensation to individuals and even "anonymous" donations to local treasuries that are widely believed to come from plant operators.
Unquestionably, the aid has enriched rural communities that were rapidly losing jobs and people to the cities. With no substantial reserves of oil or coal, Japan relies on nuclear power for the energy needed to drive its economic machine. But critics contend that the largess has also made communities dependent on central government spending — and thus unwilling to rock the boat by pushing for robust safety measures.
In a process that critics have likened to drug addiction, the flow of easy money and higher-paying jobs quickly replaces the communities' original economic basis, usually farming or fishing.
Nor did planners offer alternatives to public works projects like nuclear plants. Keeping the spending spigots open became the only way to maintain newly elevated living standards.
Experts and some residents say this dependency helps explain why, despite the legacy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the accidents at the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl nuclear plants, Japan never faced the levels of popular opposition to nuclear power seen in the United States and Europe — and is less likely than the United States to stop building new plants. Towns become enmeshed in the same circle — which includes politicians, bureaucrats, judges and nuclear industry executives — that has relentlessly promoted the expansion of nuclear power over safety concerns.
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