Saturday, February 28, 2009

Buy Up PLUS: Yes or No?

Frankly speaking, I quite like the new Works Minister, Dato Mohd Zin Mohamed. He's the only Minister I know to date, that actually replies to every small query which was raised within any of my speeches. And when Parliament's not in session, his office will mail the answer(s) to me. I was frankly speaking, impressed. And honestly, I think (for whatever reasons), he does try to improve things within his very very limited means and scope.

But you'll certainly have to help me here with the cryptic answer he gave in a short interview with Malaysiakini after announcing the embarrassing 24-hour U-Turn of the toll rates increase for several highways.
Why can’t the government buy up the highways?

That is the principle of privatisation to nationalisation. We have to look at the financial capabilities of the government, what would be total liability, who are the shareholders. It is not also technical parameters but financial parameters we would have to address.

Are you looking into it?

I’m just defining the parameters we have to is a question if whether we want to stick to privatisation vis-a-vis nationalisation.

What do you think of DAP’s proposal for the government to buy up Plus highway?

Anyone can come up (with such plans). What Tony Pua should do is not look at Plus as a standalone. The whole concession is operating as an integrated entity.

Are you rejecting his proposal?

I didn’t say that.
So what say you? I can assure you that based on the declassified contract agreements, the Government can certainly afford to "expropriate" many of these toll concessionaires.  But  I didn't understand his "operating as an integrated entity" bit, but if it's any consolation, he hasn't yet rejected our very constructive PLUS buy-back proposal ;-)


Anonymous said...

Right now many people can't imagine things getting better for a long long time..People remember the last Asian financial crises and how things took a long time to recover especially for middle and low income earners AND when they started to see improvement, suddenly prices shot up...

Given the quantum in toll increases, people are starting to see how painfull the toll will be in 5-10 years when a lot of these tolls will be around due to extension of concession period from additional projects.

Its almost divine timing that your proposal for taking over the toll operators coming out. You can be sure it will feature in the next GE. This is FAR from over....

Anonymous said...

Really the decision is very simple. When you can buy back an asset at 12% return on assets vs its actual return of at least 20%, its a no brainer.. What is there to think about????

OTL said...

Hi Tony,

The ultimate goal is to reduce the toll rates, whether is private or public, I personally think it does not matter.

From my experience, I am quite satisfy with the current Plus service, although it still has space to improve. If compare with the current "Laluan Persekutuan", PLUS is much much better.

If after government privatise PLUS, it able to provide better service, technically I should support.

But how many Malaysian benefits from this privatisation? Those who benefit the most will be the transporter or carrier. Will they willing to reduce the price of transportation? Or from the cost they save, make them make higher profit, but the government take the "rakyat" paid taxes to bail-out the toll. Will this justifiable?

Talk back to our bus fare ticket, even the diesel price been sharp decline, we still pay the same fare tickets to bus operators. Please help the "rakyat" on this first before we talk about the toll concession.

If our bus ticket, can have a price war like the air ticket, that is much better. Air-Asia & Firefly done a good job. The bus operators increase the bus fare, but still claim they loss money. Haha... I really can't understand how they do business.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...


after buying back the highways, please do not turn it into freeways. Instead, I suggest the following:-

(i) after repaying the bonds raised to nationalise the highways, staff should benefit. Raise the minimums salary to RM1,200 with additional cola allowance for those that are suffering from higher living cost. Turn the highway operating companies to be choice of employment.

(ii) gradual reduction in toll rates to benefit the people.

(iii) review all out-sourced contracts to plug the leakages.

(iv) net profit after implementation of the above from these highways be used to upgrade the federal roads as well as mass commuters in KL, JB and Penang.

amethyst213 said...

Tony, i read about the DAP plan to buyback PLUS in Malaysian Insider and felt something left out in the plan unconsidered.

These include;

1) Maintenance after 2016
2) Inflationary projection and assumptions unexplained

I had given some suggestion in my blog and in the comment section..

Only came here from Malaysiakini today so i missed out the comment section in your post.

Anonymous said...

No buying back. Nationalise. Boot UEM out and no compensation. These people have looted enough.

Anonymous said...


Nothing too cryptic really.The answer "...The whole concession is operating as an integrated entity." simply suggests that for "piratisation" to be effective, well, you need all players to operate an integrated fashion ! This is certainly a very strong and obvious impression it gives, otherwise, I dont see why the necessity to have such documents to be previously made classified...

Anonymous said...

Yes, we should buy back all these basic essentials/infrastructure - water, electricity, roads etc. We shouldn't be paying for them for 5 generations (or more).

What we shouldn't be buying is more submarine, jets etc!!!


l藍海 said...


Anonymous said...

The agreements itself in the first place has robbed us rakyat inside out. The "intergrated entity" to me is BN & its Cronies. What kind of privatisation excercise in the world that compensate for losses by government? Can any other private companies out there get compensation if they (after "proper" auditing) claim from government because they did not make a profit for that year & thus qualifies for compensation from tax-payers fund???

Now because of the U-turn, government claim that over RM 200million will be compensated to the tolls since no-hike will be made. This is utter crap from the backside. There should not have been a hike in the first place. Now the gov want to pain themselves as heroes? This was all orchestrated. It is the old "Samy Handbook on Tolls" textbook story. Before the companies can 'prove' they will not make a profit due to no price hike, they can claim for compensation in advance. Every private company out there would like to have such a privilege...why only Toll companies???

Anonymous said...

It was good plot that ended with an anti-climax. First there was some appetizer to close down this toll & that toll...that's probably due to the fact that these tolls are not generating enough profit, not enough traffic & 'allowed compensation' to suck from the tax-payers fund. Plus, these tolls are hardly any traffic jam - even at peak hour compared to LDP.

After all the sweets, then gov announced toll hike from 1st Mar...with negative response from public. This was expected as there was no justification to increase in the first place. Cost of maintenance should be down since oil prices have dipped. Because of the U-turn to please the public & to show that PM AAB said so...the toll companies get a huge payout in advance in compensation. In the first place, if there was no such toll hike & need for any u-turn to be 'created', why the compensation?

Take back all the highways so that there will be no issue of "integrated entity". All the highways should be integrated to the public's benefit, not politician in power. It can privatised again in a manner that every Malaysian can own part of it. Not only to BN & its cronies. The profits generated can go back to the public. This is a much better way to create-share-recycle the wealth.

Also, why should we pay road-tax for? Just to keep the RTD office afloat???

Anonymous said...

why need to buy plus and cow to private company. just enact a new law to seize that company by force, sure many MP would happily sign that law ......

plus, this country anyway is not full capitalist either...

Anonymous said...

Of course, Nobody in this World willing to pay for anything if it's offer for FOC..!Nobody in Malaysia to demand for FOC so far..!No Rakyat in Malaysia would like, persistently be haunted & be burdened by such an issue year by year..forever in our nation history!

Since The Rakyat were never Sold
anything to them..!Therefore The Rakyat are NOT obliged to Buy Back from them..!The Rakyat merely demand for a "CORRECTION" for the pass misdeed ,wrongful & abusive acts in the administration via "NOBLE Privatisation Price Policy"!
(INCREASE NOW OR ELSE PAY US).We can't continue to allow the Cronies business "Operating AS An Integrated Entity Like In Heaven" by all means based on "THE WRONGFUL FOUNDATION" CREATED IN THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION APPARENT KNOWN REASONS/MYSTERY TO THEM CONTINUING TO WRONG FOR GENERATION TO GENERATION..AT THE EXPENSE OF RAKYAT ANYMORE..! Since the issue was on the UNREASONABLE & UNFAIR Concession Agreements, then A REMEDY (CORRECTION) MUST BE DONE WIHTOUT FURTHER DELAY..!The RAKYAT MUST NOT BE VICTIMS anymore for any further Concession.!The elected SO POWERFUL MINISTER must not be seen nor be felt SO POWERLESS so incapable until have to kowtow & sacrificing the whole nation taxpayers' money=Rakyat Interest mainly for the Concession cronies..!That's SOMETHING ROTTEN in Malaysia History's mystery in the implementation of policy..!The loopholes must be unplugged one by one...with a Political Will..Not Business will..!The "WILL" IS ONLY capable be accomplished backed by All The Rakyat Malaysia..!

The main issue here is NOT ABOUT PRIVATISATION NOR NATIONALISATION..!It's ABOUT THE EXPLOITATION OF LOOPHOLES IN CONCESSION AGREEMENTS TENDENCY TO FAVOURABLE THE CRONYISM CHARACTERISTIC BY THE GOVERNMENT..that's MUST BE CORRECTED URGENTLY WITHOUT SACRIFICING THE RAKYATS' INTEREST ANYMORE FOR GENERATION TO GENERATION IN ORDER TO BUILD A UNITED RAKYAT GREAT NATION..BANGSA MALAYSIA!That's WHY The Rakyat choose a Government to represent On Behalf Of Rakyat to safeguard & defend for "Impian Rakyat" towards A Progressive,Prosperous, Welfare & Workfare , Security & Safety,Advanced Developing Nation by Great Leader in Malaysia respected & recognised nationwide & globally..!Insyallah

Anonymous said...

They say you can't build Rome in a single day, but you've to start somewhere.

Tony, admist all the 'dramas', you've been able stick to your guns and continue to push the way forward for the rakyat.

One Word: Respect!

Anonymous said...


Please answer 2 questions:

1. Do you think it is fair to use tax payer money to buy back the highway at inflated price?

2. Do you think buy back is the best solutions? What if the BN start awarding more highway contracts after the completion of thses buy-back? Then, would you suggest "for the benefit of rakyat", we should ask the government to buy-back for 2nd time?

waiting for your answer.

Anonymous said...

Why shud Govt proritise the nationalisation of the privatised highways over other people-oriented projects which have been pushed to the back burner?

Why go help their frequent/heavy users to use them FOC?

Just to let concessionaires cash out?

No brainer heh?

U use u pay

Unless u can come up with a brilliant plan/pricing for EPF & tabung haji to benefit from such investment -- then even sen in the bottom line goes into the people's piggy bank wont it tony?

Anonymous said...

By right, there should be no expropriation of any sort.

All the privatised highways have made all the BN beneficiaries & its cronies super-rich without having to work for it except to go parliament house to sleep...which by the way, in the past since 2004, there was hardly attendance from BN as they got 90% seats. So most of them 'ponteng' parliament session, play golf or visit mistresses.

Coming back...yes, the highway companies should give-up at RM 1- value for their operations back to the RAKYAT - after sucking BILLIONS or TRILLIONS of RM since (not to mention compensated from tax-payers money when they report no profit or losses). So, why should we PAY to buy-back when the toll companies have TAKEN (to be polite) from the RAKYAT all these years.

The highways are OUR highways. Not the toll companies nor BN & cronies. It was paid for by OUR money. Why should roads be privatised in the first place?

In most developed nations, all the highways are truly FREEways - FREE. Plus, the conditions or engineering of the roads are of higher standards compared to ours that somehow need a lot of 'regular maintenance'...

Only selective roads like links to bridges or to CBDs (Central Business Districts) are tolled.

Anonymous said...


Please answer 2 questions:

1. Do you think it is fair to use tax payer money to buy back the highway at inflated price?

2. Do you think buy back is the best solutions? What if the BN start awarding more highway contracts after the completion of thses buy-back? Then, would you suggest "for the benefit of rakyat", we should ask the government to buy-back for 2nd time?

waiting for your answer.

9:24 PM