Call on Samy Vellu to clarify whether the government has secretly agreed to extend the North-South Expressway concession by another eight years, making it a 50-year “cash cow” concession for PLUS till 2038?
- at the Selangor DAP dinner at Pandamaran
by Lim Kit Siang
(Klang, Saturday): Tonight, I want to ask the Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu a simple and straightforward question – whether the government has secretly agreed to extend the North-South Expressway (NSE) concession by another eight years, making it a 50-year “cash cow” concession for PLUS till 2038?
For the past three days, I had been mystified by Samy Vellu’s claim after Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting that the government would have to pay RM38 billion in compensation to PLUS over the next 33 years if the 10% NSE toll hike on 1.1.2005 is stopped.
I am still waiting for Samy Vellu’s answer to my question as to why government compensation must be paid to PLUS for the next 33 years till 2038, when the NSE concession ends in 2030 – or in another 25 years! In 1999, the 30-year NSE concession (1988-2018) was extended by 12 years till 2030, following a renegotiation of the concession providing for a new toll structure, with increments every three to five years instead of annually in the original contract.
There could only be two explanations for this mysterious reference to another 33 years for the 42-year NSE concession which is left with 25 years till 2030.
Firstly, that Samy Vellu had made a genuine mistake. I do not believe however that Samy Vellu could have made such a colossal error, as although he is 68, he is not senile but is still very sharp, nimble and alert, as his enemies in MIC have found to their cost.
Secondly, that Samy Vellu had not made any mistake, only a slip-of-the-tongue in adverting though in an indirect manner to the fact that PLUS has been secretly awarded another eight-year extension of the NSE concession, giving it a 50-year tenure.
Malaysians are entitled to know from Samy Vellu as to which one of these two explanations is the true and correct one, and if the latter, why PLUS has now been given a 50-year concession without any transparency and accountability to the suffering Malaysian public, in particular the motorists.
I have this morning announced the convening in Parliament on Monday at 12 noon of a meeting of Members of Parliament, political parties, trade unions, consumer organizations and NGOs to discuss the formation of a Coalition Against Unfair Toll Increase in the wake of nation-wide protest against the 10 percent NSE toll hike scheduled to come into effect on January 1, 2005.
I want to apologise to all MPs, whether Barisan Nasional or Opposition, political parties, trade unions, consumer organisations and NGOs for such terribly short notice, because of very great time constraints. The country will be breaking for long holidays, with Christmas next Saturday and the New Year the following week. With the 10% NSE toll hike to begin in another 12 days, there is no time for a single day’s delay.
I ask all MPs, political parties, trade unions, consumer organizations and NGOs in view of the gravity and urgency of the issue not to stand on formality in requiring official invitation, whether writing or oral, but to come to Parliament on Monday at 12 noon to brainstorm with other like-minded Malaysians as to how they can effectively make their objections to the 10% NSE toll hike heard loud and clear.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman