Call on MPs from Barisan Nasional and Opposition to unite with NGOs, trade unions, consumer organizations and civil society to form a Coalition Against Unfair Toll to prove that they were deadly serious and not just “grandstanding” in Parliament to impress the public or seek cheap publicity when they declared united objection to 10 percent NSE toll hike
Media Conference Statement (2)
- during the protest against 10% North-South Expressway toll hike from 1st January held at the Jelapang Toll Interchange, Perak
by Lim Kit Siang
(Ipoh, Friday): Members of Parliament from Barisan Nasional and Opposition should unite with NGOs, trade unions, consumer organizations and civil society to form a Coalition Against Unfair Toll to prove that they were deadly serious and not just “grandstanding” in Parliament last Tuesday to impress the public or seek cheap publicity when they declared united objection to the 10 percent North-South Expressway (NSE) toll hike.
As a first step, they should ask the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was not present at Wedneday’s Cabinet meeting as he was overseas in the United Arab Emirates for official tour, to re-open the burning issue of the 10% NSE toll hike controversy and to secure a Cabinet decision for a two-month deferment of the increase from 1.1.2005 to allow for the most comprehensive public study on all its socio-economic implications.
I fully support the Barisan Nasional MP for Sri Gading Datuk Mohamad Aziz as the Chairman of the Coalition Against Unfair Toll, as he had told Samy Vellu in Parliament on Tuesday during question time (with the full support of Opposition MPs):
"What’s this? Toll rates are to go up by 10 per cent. For the
people, a 10 per cent increase is a lot. Why must the rates be increased
every three years? Is the concessionaire suffering losses while the number
of vehicles on the expressway is on the rise?
In September last year, when replying to the DAP MP for Tanjong, Chow Kon Yeow during question time, Samy Vellu announced in Parliament that the Cabinet had made a decision that requests by toll concessionaire companies to hike toll rates could be made only after the Auditor-General had audited the companies to justify an upward revision.
Explaining the reason for the Cabinet decision that toll concessionaires would not be allowed to increase the rates when the time comes until they have been audited by the Auditor-General, Samy Vellu told Parliament.
“We want to make sure whether the companies have made a profit or want to make more profit or whether the requests are justified or the people will accept an increase or otherwise, all these will be taken into account.” (NST 24.9.03)
As far as everybody knows, Samy Vellu did not present the Auditor-General’s report on PLUS Expressway to the Cabinet on Wednesday, which raises the question of the propriety and legitimacy of the alleged Cabinet decision to approve the 10% NSE toll hike from January 1, 2005.
In fact, Samy Vellu should clarify whether the Auditor-General had conducted an audit of PLUS Expressway, and if not, this will be the most powerful reason for a deferment of the NSE toll hike on 1.1.2005, as required by the Cabinet decision last year, for such an audit to be made.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman