Call on the Works Ministry to make
public the construction costs of the New Pantai Expressway
by Ong Chee Keng
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The DAP Action Committee on the New Pantai Expressway (NPE) calls on the Works Ministry to make public and itemize the construction costs of the expressway so that the public knows the actual figures allocated for the project, considering that the Ministry had stated that the high toll rate was due to delay in the completion of works and the construction of the elevated portions of the expressway.
DAP believes that the people, particularly the users of the NPE, are entitled to know the actual figures, which is their right as consumers.
DAP wishes to stress that the government is duty-bound to build roads, highways and expressways for all residential, industrial and commercial areas that are newly developed. It is unreasonable for the government to adopt the mindset that roads, highways and expressways should be built by private companies which then collect tolls at unfair and unreasonable rates from the public. In fact, the government should bear this responsibility and not transfer it to the private sector.
If such development trend continues, DAP is worried that future expressways in the vicinity of Klang Valley would all end up as tolled expressways.
In the case of the NPE, the people must know whether they are the ones who are made to bear with the mistakes (delay in the duration for completion of works and construction of the elevated expressway) caused by the Ministry and the private companies involved and end up paying higher toll rates as a result.
As such, both parties need to provide a clear explanation as to how much additional funds were expended to build the expressway, and if assuming the expressway could be built on time and the construction of the expressway could be brought to the lowest level possible, how much money could be saved and what would be the toll rate imposed on users.
At the same time, we also wish to remind the government not to make compensation to the concessionaire by using government funds if it agrees to lower the toll rate since government funds are monies that belong to the people.
Last Saturday on 17 April, the Action Committee on NPE together with the residents staying along the expressway had gathered in front of the NPE PJS 2 Toll Plaza to hold our second round of protest against the unfair NPE toll rate through the “Pay Toll Using 1 Sen Coins” people’s campaign.
Apart from supporting the signature campaign and pay toll using 1 sen coins, DAP also urges the people to come out in full force this Saturday to join in the protests against the unfair and unreasonable toll rates imposed, so that we can collectively exert pressure on the government and the NPW concessionaire to reduce or abolish the existing toll rates.
* Ong Chee Keng, Selangor DAP Chairman and Advisor to the DAP Action Committee on NPE,