(Penang, Sunday): Gerakan President and Primary Industries Minister, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik should be commended if he speaks up in Cabinet on Wednesday against the unfair toll rates increases and the introduction of the unfair new toll rates.
He should however publicly apologise to all Malaysians for two reasons: firstly, for agreeing in Cabinet in the first place to the unfair toll rates increases and the introduction of unfair new toll rates; but even more important, for agreeing in 1988 in Cabinet to give approval for the North-South Expressway Concession which is the root cause of all the toll problems faced by the people and government.
In 1987, the DAP had led the campaign to oppose the North-South Highway privatisation, not only at the irregular manner of its award but also because of the one-sided concession terms which have now caused double injustice to Malaysians as well as future generations.
It is precisely because of the Cabinet approval given to the North-South Expressway concession (fully supported by Keng Yaik who was a Cabinet member then) that both motorists and the general public have now become permanent preys of PLUS to maximise their corporate profits, regardless of whether the government approves or rejects their demands for toll rate increases.
PLUS is in an "always win" situation because the North-South Expressway Concession provides that the government would give them full compensation for any rejection of their demand for toll rate increase as stipulated in the contract.
When Keng Yaik raises the tolls issue in the Cabinet on Wednesday, he must ensure that such a double injustice is ended, for it is no use reducing the toll rate increase for the motorists if finally, it is the general Malaysian public including the non-motorists who have to pay the balance by way of government compensation.
The Cabinet meeting on Wednesday must demand a renegotiation of the North-South Expressway Concession to remove such a provision which inflicts double injustices on Malaysians.
I have invited all Barisan Nasional MPs from UMNO, MCA, Gerakan and MIC through email or fax to the secretary-general of their respective parties, asking them to extend the invitation to their MPs for the meeting at Parliament House on Tuesday at 11 a.m. for MPs and NGOs to take a common stand against unfair toll rates or toll rate increases.
I hope UMNO, MCA, Gerakan and MIC MPs will attend the meeting to show that on an issue which affects the welfare of the people, MPs regardless of party can take an united position to work for the best interests of all Malaysians.