Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Highway Robbery

Work the maths yourself.

The construction cost for the for the 5 highways of which the toll rates are being revised in January 2007, is estimated at RM4.13 billion.

According to our Minister of Works, Datuk Seri Samy Vellu, the government has already paid RM2.275 billion in compensation for 'suppressing' the toll rates to date.

In addition, despite the hefty toll hikes expected in January which has been announced, the honourable Minister has also, out of compassion for the rakyat, agreed to fork out an additional RM2.589 billion in compensation to the concessionaires over the next 3 to 5 years.

So, how much is the promised compensation in total? A whopping RM4.86 billion! That's RM734 million or almost 18% more than the actual cost of constructing the highway! And this does not take into consideration, further generous compensations which will be paid to the toll operators when the next toll rate review is due in a mere couple of years.

Yet, everyday, tens of thousands of vehicles are still paying hundreds of millions annually at toll booths for using roads which the Government has more than paid for. And our Government has the audacity to claim that the hefty increase in toll rates by as much as 60% is absolutely necessary, and has been kept to a very minimum.

I have no problems forking out cash for toll in a fair deal. However, when our very own Government commits highway robbery at the expense of the rakyat, it's just plain abhorrent.

Here are some upcoming activities in relation to expressing our unhappiness over the proposed toll hikes:
  1. Sign the online petition against the unfair toll hikes.

  2. Join the Dec 31 protest at the Grand Saga toll plaza along the Cheras highway. The protest is jointly organised by the Bandar Mahkota Cheras Open Access Road Action Committee (BMC-OARAC) and the Democratic Action Party (DAP)

  3. Or for those who prefer to remain more aligned to pro-establishment parties, MCA Puchong also will be organising a protest against the toll hike at 10am this Friday, Dec 29, at the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP).

  4. Attend a forum tomorrow (Wednesday 8pm, Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall) organised by the Anti-Toll Hike Coalition comprising of political parties and non-government organisations. The talk will feature prominent speakers including PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Malaysian Trade Union Congress president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud and human rights group Suaram executive director Yap Swee Seng.

  5. Join another toll protest at the LDP on January 7th organised by the Coalition.
Go on and do our part as responsible citizens of Malaysia. Every little bit counts.
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