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
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。