Tuesday November 28, 2006

KUALA LUMPUR: Toll rates will be increased for five concessionaires come Jan 1, 2007, according to Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

He said the Government could not afford to compensate the concessionaires for the Guthrie Corridor Expressway, Karak Highway, Grand Saga Cheras-Kajang Highway, Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP) and Kesas Shah Alam Highway the estimated RM2bil, if no increase was approved during this round of concession agreements.

It is understood that this is how much the Government will have to fork out until the concession agreements lapse.

Citing an example, Samy Vellu said the original toll rate when the LDP first opened was RM1.50.

“But because of complaints by the people, it was reduced to RM1. Just because the toll was reduced, it did not mean the balance of 50 sen did not have to be paid,” he said, adding that the Government had to compensate the LDP concessionaire RM68mil last year and RM76mil this year.

Samy Vellu said the quantum of increase would only be finalised after a study by the ministry to make sure the increase was reasonable and would not burden the public.

The last toll increase was on Jan 1, 2005, when Plus Expressways increased toll rates by 10% on the North-South Expressway. In April 2002, Kesas highway also raised its rates by between 20 sen and 60 sen.

Samy Vellu added that as a matter of policy, the Government would also ensure that if there were two different concessionaires operating on similar routes their toll rates would be identical.

Meanwhile, in Petaling Jaya, Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Ashfar Ali said he hoped that the increase would not apply to buses.


“We cannot afford to absorb an increase. We hope that if the increase does apply to buses, then the Government will allow us to pass on the charges to passengers, as allowed for taxis.”

Pan Malaysia Lorry Operators Association president Er Sui See said if the lorry operators were burdened the increase would be passed on to customer.

On another matter, Samy Vellu said the proposal for the 216km West Coast Highway was withdrawn by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) at the last Cabinet meeting.

He added that if the Government had carried out the project earlier, it would have been much cheaper, instead of the estimated cost of RM3bil now.

Samy Vellu also said he would ask the Cabinet to stop issuing licences for Class F contractors because too many of them were dormant.

p/s

Aku still tak faham, kalau bukan kerajaan yang tanggung kos lebuhraya siapa lagi?