(Kuala Lumpur, Sunday): The Mammoth Anti-Toll Protest Public Rally at Bukit Jalil Stadium organised by the Coalition Against Toll (CAT) on February 26 is targetting an attendance of 20,000 to 30,000 people from all over the country.
It should be a historic turning point in the crystallisation of the people’s long-suffering grievances against unfair highway privatisation and unfair highway tolls into a national movement and I will propose at the next CAT meeting that the Mammoth Anti-Toll Protest Public Rally at Bukit Jalil Stadium be asked to approve the Charter Against Unfair Toll (CAUT) to be used as an important plank to express the people’s wishes in the next general elections.
The People’s Charter Against Unfair Toll should not be a Charter for any political party, whether opposition or government, but should be the People’s Charter meant for endorsement by all political parties in the country.
For this reason, I will propose that a drafting committee of the People’s Charter Against Unfair Toll be formed at the next CAT meeting, and that leaders from the Barisan Nasional component parties be invited to the drafting committee. I would like to see such a Charter acceptable by all political parties, whether government or opposition.
All Members of Parliament and State Assembly members, whether Barisan Nasional and Opposition, are invited to the Bukit Jalil Stadium anti-toll protest public rally and invitations will be sent to everyone of them after the Chinese New Year holidays, and I hope there would be Barisan Nasional MPs and Assembly members who would have the courage to stand by the people on the issue of unfair highway privatisation and unfair highway tolls and to help send a strong message to the Cabinet that it must respect the people’s demand for all expressway toll rate increases to be suspended until there is a full review of the highway privatisation programme by a Highways Consultative Council which should be set up without any delay.
Last week, CAT had focussed on the injustice of the continued toll collection at Jalan Kuching by Kamunting Corporation Bhd. although it had already collected RM183 million from toll during the nine-year concession period from 1987 to 1996 when it only incurred RM60 million for the original concession and another RM14 million for road upgrade work. Why should Kamunting Corporation be given another seven-year extension to collect toll, which would mean a bonus of RM250 million for the period?
I am surprised that the Gerakan MP for Segambut, Dr. Tan Kee Kwong, has been keeping very quiet on the Jalan Kuching toll issue, although two years ago, he was quite outspoken against it. Has Dr. Tan Kee Kwong been converted to become a supporter for the seven-year toll extension at Jalan Kuching, or at least “turned over” and “neutralised” from not speaking out against it publicly?
I hope not and I hope Dr. Tan Kee Kwong would have the courage of his convictions to attend the Bukit Jalil Stadium Anti-Toll Mass Protest Public Rally on February 26 to support the campaign against unfair highway privatisation and unfair highway tolls.