Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Toll Review

I complained about the fact that none of my questions were scheduled to be heard in Parliament during question time because the highest for this period was at No. 20. However, it was much to my surprised yesterday evening, to find one of my questions scheduled to be answered at No. 6 today. ;-)

The question was to the Minister of Works:
[Berapakah] pendapatan, keuntungan kumulatif syarikat-syarikat konsesi tol dan adakah Kerajaan akan mengambil langkah tertentu untuk merunding semula ciri-ciri kontrak yang tidak seimbang dan membebankan orang ramai.
The official reply was:
Untuk makluman ahli yang berhormat sehingga Disember tahun 2007 terdapat 22 buah lebuhraya bertol yang sedang beroperasi di bawah pengawasn Lembaga Lebuhraya Malaysia.

Sehingga tahun 2007, jumlah keseluruhan pendapatan dan keuntungan kumulatif bagi syarikat-syarikat konsesi lebuhraya berkenaan semenjak diswastakan sehingga kini adalah seperti berikut:
(i) Jumlah keseluruhan pendapatan kumulative ialah RM27.6 bilion
(ii) Jumlah keseluruhan keuntungan kumulatif RM3.5 bilion
Untuk makluman ahli yang berhormat, kerajaan sentiasa meneliti perjanjian-perjanjian konsesi lubuhraya sedia ada bagi memastikan perjanjian itu tidak berat sebelah serta tidak membebankan pengguna lebuhraya.
Unfortunately, when the answer was given orally, the numbers didn't "sink" in, but now on relooking at the numbers, it doesn't seem to make sense as PLUS on its own already made much more than the RM3.5 bilion above. So I'll have to recheck my own figures again.

However, the Minister did point out that a Toll Review Mechanism is being put in place, and he admitted that the contracts which provides abnormal profits to some of these concessions will be renegotiated - a first-time admission, I believe. He also announced plans to differentiate toll policies between those in urban areas, and those which were inter-state.

I also heard from the reporters that the Minister announced to the press that the study will be announced in 3 months.

While the numbers announced were a little suspect, it is encouraging that the Minister in appearance at least, seems to be more cognizant of the discontent amongst Malaysians with the rising toll rates, especially in the fact of inflationary pressures from all aspects, after the political tsunami of March 8th. Comparatively, the previous Minister would just wave away all complaints and suggestions.

I also posted a supplementary question, which I did so probably too nervously (first time in Parliament lah...) as follows:
Terima kasih ke atas jawaban yang diberi oleh Menteri Kerja Raya yang baru yang menggalakkan, yang kita semua harap akan membawa satu pentadbiran yang baru atau dengan izin, "paradigm shift" berbanding dengan institusi yang lama.

Adakah Kementerian Kerja Raya bercadang supaya PLUS, syarikat konsesi Lebuhraya Utara Selatan akan diberikan hak untuk meningkatkan kadar tol pada tahun ini ataupun tahun depan, selepas cadangannya untuk menaiki kadar tol ditangguh pada awal tahun ini.

Dan kalau terus ditangguh, berapakah jumlah gantirugi yang kerajaan perlu bayar kepada syarikat PLUS yang ternyata telah mendapat keuntungan yang lumayan sekali?
The Minister replied that the postponement was for 1 year, but as he went off-tangent on some other policies, he didn't answer the second part of my question (amount of compensation), and subsequent request was not heard by the Speaker. Well, will have to wait for the next opportunity then. ;-)

But it does appear, for now at least, that the BN government is slowing waking up from its slumber, and all the pressure applied by the opposition and the rakyat, may just bear some fruit. ;-)

See also the latest report posted in The Star, and here in Malaysiakini on the Minister's response.
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