Friday, February 27, 2009

BN Rubs Salt On Our Wounds

At a time when Malaysians are facing the greatest economic challenge, when 100,000 Malaysians are expected to be out of a job by the end of the year as projected by the Minister of Human Resources, the Barisan Nasional Government has decided to increase toll rates from 5 to 25% for 5 toll concessions, while at the same time still pay compensation amounting to RM277 million to these toll concessionaires! The act is clearly a case of rubbing salt onto the wounds of anxious and suffering Malaysians.

In announcing this, Works Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohammed said the increase was “minimal” and hoped the public understood that the increase was “stipulated in the concession agreements” that the government had signed.

Firstly we will like to reiterate that the increase was by no means minimal. For PLUS itself, even a 5% increase in toll rates will increase toll revenue by as much as RM120 million in 2009. This doesn't yet take into consideration the fact that the Government is likely to have to compensate PLUS for the other 5% which has yet to be increased, which may be an additional RM100 million. It is an insult for to all Malaysians to say that RM220 million to be incurred by road users and tax-payers “minimal”, especially in times of economic hardship, and shortfall in Government revenues.

In fact, we would like to ask the Government if the compensation sums being paid to concessionares are part of the “economic stimulus packages” to help turnaround our economy, badly affected by the global economic crisis.

Secondly, while the toll rate increase is indeed “stipulated in the concession agreements”, there were also other clauses stipulated in the agreements such as the “expropriation” clause which the Government has chosen to blatantly ignore. This selective compliance to the legal agreements smacks of a government favouring the interest of cronies instead of those of the people.

The DAP Ops Restore team has demonstrated using many examples over the past 2 months how expropriating these highways as per the terms “stipulated in the conession agreements” are more economical and cost effective for both the Government and the road users. But the Government continues to turn a blind eye to these constructive proposals.

Just yesterday, the team have outlined a detailed proposal on how the Government can “take back” PLUS Expressways Bhd without costing tax-payers a single cent and without unfairly penalising minority shareholders (they are to be offered 15% premium to the current share price) which will result in a toll-free North South Expressway by 2016.

Why does the Government who owns directly 65% of PLUS Expressway, continue to choose the route of unfairly “taxing” road-users and tax-payers (if compensation is paid) instead of taking appropriate actions to help the people?

It should also be noted that PLUS Expressways is extremely profitable. PLUS made RM1.31 billion in net profits before tax, which translates into an enormous net profit margin of 57.3% in 2007!

The privatisation policies a-la Barisan Nasional have brought an enourmous burden on all Malaysians and have profited only Barisan Nasional crony businessmen. If Prime Minister-elect, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak wants to commence his term on the right note, then we call upon him to take back these highways, and other unfairly privatised projects to relieve the burden of the rakyat, especially in these difficult times.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

The BN government owed the rakyat too much, the leadership is not only incompetent,but governed by expediency,please by all means tender your resignation or assign another efficient 'CEO' who can really performed with the sole purpose to bring developement and prosperity to the nation.

Anonymous said...

The weird thing is that Prime Minister Abdullah called for review.

In other words, you mean the Works Minister does not have to report the decision to increase toll rates to PM beforehand ?

And this is prior to the announcement of second stimulus package to boost the economy by DS Najib.

I wonder they really study the whole plan collectively and study carefully the impact on macro instead of each ministry working on its own agenda.

For sure these will have a multiplier effect on logistic cost across the sectors.

l藍海 said...

对!他们国最会在我们伤口上撒盐。
:(
所以我决定了在选举时给他们雪上加霜。
把他们送出国会大夏。

Anonymous said...

Najib cannot be reffered to as Prime Minister -elect. If he becomes PM, it is through appointment and not any democratic process.

donplaypuks® said...

This is clearly an uncaring govt.

Nevertheless UMNO/BN must dismantle all thes Toll/IPP/Water concessionaire contracts which were signed by its Ministers/EPU etc totally against Public Interest.

The first step would be to suspend the shares and stocks that are listed on the KLSE, take over the running of these entities and force the concessionaires to come to the negotiating table. I guarantee you that toll rates can come down by 50% and the concessionaires will still make a decent profit after tax!!

The Govt, which owns sizeable stakes in all these ventures, can give share and boldholders guarantees that bond interest etc will be maintained and fair compensation worked out; fair compensation based on normal market standards and not these lop-sided compensation clauses enginered into these agreements by these looters and plunderers.

All will recall Ani Arope's public statement that the EPU and Dr.M put pressure on him and Tenaga to concede extremely favourable terms to IPP's against Temaga's interest.

And don't tell us, as did the IPP lobby, that foreign parties of bonds and loans will downgrade our credit ratings. IPP profits are stated after interest and finance costs and none are losing money with IRR's in excess of 18%. So, there is a lot of fat in there for re-negotiation.


Where there is a will, there is away. It is the selfish and untimigated greed of croney concessionaires that stands in the way of resolving these issues in the best interest of the general public and the nation.

http://donplaypuks.blogspot.com

amoker said...

Keep it up

Anonymous said...

I believe that the amount paid to tolls is a significant increase instead. From what I know the tolls will be going up by 40 sen which is alot of money when you calculate it daily and a to/fro journey. That is a 25% increase costs daily.

Just look at a trip to Cyberjaya:

Old Cost:

1.60 X 2 X 2 X 5 = RM 32 per week

New Cost :

2.0 X 2 X 2 X 5 = RM 40 per week

Anonymous said...

I wonder why the govt decide to extend the retiring age for govt servants to 58 when there are young people who are looking for jobs
The deadwoods in extended retiring age will not be contributing effectively
I think CUEPACS should be brave enough to bring back the retirement age to 55 or 56

Looi said...

Tony,

No doubt BN is rubbing salt on our wounds by increasing the highway tolls in this trying times. This price hike 'stimulus package' by the smart government is really killing us all...
My question is will there be any plans or taskforce to takeover toll concessions in PR states, instead of begging BN to do the same thing?

Tser said...

what the hell...?

how can they even think (let alone suggest) of increasing toll rates during economic conditions like this is beyond me

Anonymous said...

Paklah is a good man & right man...!Pitifully in the Wrong Team at the Wrong Times ...!
Just a word everything is on Hold...!

The Problem is within the previous BN-Administration ..!The Powerful is seem to be under "Dilemma" to regain the Trust of Rakyat or to Continue to Serve the Cronisme Businessputramen at the expenses of Rakyat by all means...!

Anonymous said...

they are just trying to test water only la. if there is not so much of reaction to oppose, then let be it lor. else, quickly do a sandiwara to cancel the whole decision and look like a caring govt.

Odette said...

It looks as though the government can't seem to make up it's mind. Why announce a toll hike and then retract it a day later? Seems fishy to me. Surely all this would have been thought about beforehand and a decision made based on careful analysis.... to claim that this is based on public reaction is absurd - any Tom , Dick or Harry would know that the public would be opposed to this in the current economic climate. No- what BN wants to do is show that they are saints and doing this for the people....ironically with two by elections around the corner. Admitedly, hypocritical!