BN Has Still Failed To Justify Why The North-South Highway Built For RM5.9 Billion Is NOT Toll-Free After Collecting RM37.3 Billion In Tolls And Federal Government Compensation Payments?(e/c)

Press Statement By DAP Secretary-General And MP For Bagan Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 7.11.2016.

BN has still failed to justify why the North-South Highway built in 1989 and completed in 1994 for RM5.9 billion is NOT toll-free after collecting RM37.3 billion in tolls and Federal government compensation payments? Regretfully, instead of being toll-free by the end of the original concession period of 2018, the concession period has been extended by another 20 years. This means that not only our children will have to pay, but our grand-children will not escape the clutches of the North-South Highway concession operators.

Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof had earlier said until the end of 2015, the overall toll collected for the North-South Expressway alone was RM36.39 billion. Furthermore, the total amount of compensation paid out by the Federal government to PLUS following the deferment in toll hikes until 2015 was RM917.1 million. In other words, a total of RM 37.3 billion collected from Malaysians using the highway and the Federal government, is more than 6 times higher than the initial construction cost of RM 5.9 billion.

Even if we took into account maintenance and widening of roads, such extra costs cannot exceed the RM36.9 billion collected from the public. For that reason, toll collection should be abolished. In the interests of full accounting, what are the costs of maintenance of the North-South Highway yearly that is not inflated by Plus but subject to due diligence and accounting scrutiny? Since Plus has recouped its capital expenditure why have the toll rates not gone down to reflect only maintenance costs?

Instead of responding to such an important issue critical, Fadillah had chosen to make political attacks that has no relevance to the facts and figures at hand. I will not respond in kind except to his statement that I try to claim credit for the Federal government’s decision to stop toll increase on 4 highways for this year and next year. This is untrue as in my statements, I did not try to claim credit for myself or DAP.

Fadillah claimed that the decision to pay RM60 million to defer the toll hikes was due to the 2017 Budget. Fadillah cited the Prime Minister’s Budget 2017 speech, which stated that RM10 billion was allocated to help ease the cost of living for Malaysians, which included the subsidy for toll charges. Unfortunately the announcement by the Prime Minister is not stated in the 2017 Federal Expenditure Estimates Report produced by the Finance Ministry.

This is the same reason why Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim was ejected from Parliament for the Speaker when he had tried to move a motion to refer the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to the Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee for misleading Parliament. When Parliament adopts and approves the 2017 Budget, it is not the Budget speech that is adopted but the 2017 Federal Expenditure Estimates Report and other documents/bills, because the Budget Speech merely summarises the many details that makes up the various expenditures.

Steven claimed that the Prime Minister had misled Parliament because Najib’s Budget 2017 speech does not tally with allocations stated in the 2017 Federal Expenditure Estimates Report. Steven cited examples of Najib stating in his Budget speech that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission would provide RM1 billion to enable the country’s broadband coverage and quality to reach 20 megabytes per second. However, in the 2017 Federal Expenditure Estimates, “Projek Jalur Lebar” is only allocated RM57.5 million.

Similarly, how then are we to know then that the so-called RM10 billion subsidy also includes subsidy for compensation for toll hikes, when nothing is mentioned in the 2017 Federal Expenditure Estimates Report produced by the Finance Ministry?

LIM GUAN ENG

民主行动党秘书长兼峇眼区国会议员林冠英于2016年11月7日在吉隆坡发表文告:

国阵迄今无法辩解,为何大道公司所收取的过路费已达363亿9000万令吉,早就超越59亿令吉的造价,但人民却还不能享用免过路费的优惠,而联邦政府更要予以补偿?

国阵迄今无法辩解,为何大道公司所收取的过路费已达363亿9000万令吉,早就超越当年(1989年动工,1994年启用)的59亿令吉造价,但人民却还不能享用免过路费的优惠,而联邦政府更要予以补偿?叫人遗憾的是,有关大道的特许经营权原本在2018年结束,不过,现在已被延长至20年。换句话来说,不止是我们的子女,就连我们的孙儿孙女,都逃不过大道公司的收费。

法迪拉较早前说截至2015年底,南北大道所收集的总过路费是363亿9000万令吉。而且,2015年为了阻止大道过路费调涨联邦政府已经赔偿给大道公司9亿1710万令吉。换言之,大道公司所收到的363亿9000万令吉的过路费已经高过建造费用59亿令吉的6倍。

即便我们把道路维修、扩建,这些额外成本也不可能高过向公众所收到的363亿9000万令吉过路费。因此,过路费必须取消。在捍卫民众利益的问责前提下,大道公司没提起每年在南北大道的维修成本到底是多少,这不是应该仔细认真审核的吗?既然大道公司已经投资回本,那为何过路费却没有因为只剩下维修成本而调降呢?

在这个重要的议题前,法迪拉选择用和数据毫无关系的政治攻击方式回应。对于他说联邦政府决定在今年和明年阻止国内4条大道涨价,而我却来和联邦政府抢功劳一事,我不会予以回应,因为这并不正确,由始至终,我从未为我自己或民主行动党邀功。

法迪拉声称,支付6千万令吉作为展延大道过路费调涨的决定,已在2017年度财政预算案中列明。法迪拉引述首相的2017年财政预算案演讲稿中,指将有100亿令吉用以减轻马来西亚人民生活负担,包括给予过路费的补贴。不巧的是,有关首相的是项宣布,并没有列在财政部发表的2017年度联邦开支预算报告中。

这也是为什么大山脚国会议员沈志强在企图动议将误导国会的首相拿督斯里纳吉交由国会特权委员会时,他被议长逐出国会。当国会采纳和批准2017财政预算案时,我们不是在批准财政预算案演讲稿,而是2017年联邦预算开销报告及其它文件,因为财政预算演讲稿仅仅是许多开销细节的摘要。

沈志强指出,首相误导国会因为首相的2017年财政预算案与2017年联邦预算开销估计报告不相符。沈志强举例说纳吉在预算案演讲词中提到,马来西亚通讯及多媒体委员会将提供10亿令吉改善我们的宽频覆盖率及素质达20mbph, 但是,2017年联邦政府开销估计“宽频计划” 只拨款了5750万令吉。

同样地,我们怎么知道所谓的100亿令吉津贴是不是包括过路费上涨的补贴?因为在由财政部长准备的2017年联邦开销估计报告中并没有提及。

林冠英

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