Toll operators should not only reduce existing toll rates but rescind the right to annual toll increase in return for any extension of concession periods


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling, Friday): Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said the government would reduce all existing toll rates by allowing toll operators longer concession periods to ease the burden of commuters during the economic slowdown.

The toll rates which will be reviewed are the North-South Expressway, the Second Causeway Link and the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway.

Right from the very beginning in the privatisation of the North-South Expressway to United Engineers Malaysia (UEM), which was later assigned to PLUS, the exorbitant toll rates had been one of the main reasons for the DAPís objection and protest.

It is good to see what the DAP had the foresight to oppose ten years ago are now accepted by the government as legitimate and right.

In the renegotiation with regard to the toll rates for the North-South Expressway, serious consideration should be given to the following matters:

If PLUS and UEM are not prepared to renegotiate the North-South Expressway concessionaire to end its one-sided nature in both reducing the toll rate as well as to rescinding the right to annual toll increase, UEM should be blacklisted and excluded from all future privatisation contracts.

In the renegotiation, a new principle and formula should be used to compute future toll rates to ensure that it is fair to all parties based on the revenue collected by highway concession operators.

There should be no automatic right to increase toll rates every year. All toll operators should in future justify every toll increase it wishes to impose in the court of public opinion.

(2/1/98)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong