Press Statement By DAP Secretary-General And MP For Bagan Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 2.11.2016.
The Budget 2017 Is A Gross Failure For Not Addressing The Rising Cost Of Living Caused By Up To 62% Increase In 5Kg Bottles Of Cooking Oil, 48% Increase In Petrol Prices This Year And Impending Rise In Toll Rates Next Year As Well As Reduced Incomes Caused By GST And Depreciation Of The Ringgit.
The Budget 2017 is a gross failure for ordinary Malaysians by not addressing the rising cost of living caused by up to 62% increase in 5kg bottles of cooking oil, 48% increase in petrol prices this year and impending rise in toll rates next year as well as reduced incomes caused by GST and depreciation of the Ringgit. Malaysians are already suffering from the rise in petrol prices by 15 cents yesterday and the shocking revelation in the newspapers today that the prices of cooking oil for 5kg bottles will go up by as much as a low of RM6.95 or a high of RM9.10.
This means that each Malaysian may have to pay as much as RM50 extra per year. For a family of 5, this means an extra RM250 annually, which is more than the increase of RM200 BR1M payments announced in the 2017 Budget. What is the point of RM200 increase if the BN Federal government takes back RM250? Clearly BN Ministers are sleeping on the job if they feel that the rise in cooking oil prices will have no impact on the livelihood of ordinary Malaysians.
DAP expresses deep disappointment at the reply by Works Minister Fadillah Yusof to my parliamentary question yesterday that four highways are entitled to hike toll rates next year:-
Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL),
Kajang-Seremban Highway (Lekas),
Senai-Desaru Expressway (SDE), and
Guthrie Corridor Expressway (GCE).
Fadillah said that if the toll hike was deferred the Federal government would have to pay toll compensation for the four highways in 2017 for RM59.77 million. As the 2017 Budget did not provide for any toll compensation payments, ordinary Malaysians will have to bear the full brunt of the toll hikes.
Fadillah also said the North-South expressway was built in 1989 and was completed in 1994 at a cost of RM5.9 billion, which was fully borne by the concessionaire, except for costs incurred in land acquisition that was covered by the government. According to the original agreement in 1988, Fadillah said the highway concession was supposed to end in 2018 but it was then extended to 31 December 2038.
Fadillah said until the end of 2015, the overall toll collected for the North-South Expressway alone was RM36.39 billion. The total amount of compensation paid out to Plus following the deferment in toll hikes until 2015 was RM917.1 million.
This RM36.39 billion collected from Malaysians is 6 times more than the construction cost of RM 5.9 billion.
Even if we consider Fadillah’s explanation of the concessionaire having to spend 45 to 50 % from their earnings for loan repayment, overheads and operations (20%), as well as for repairs and upgrading (15 to 20 %), they have fully realized their capital investment and is only blindly earning profits. By right, toll collection should be abolished.
Malaysians must be allowed to use the North-South Highway free of charge if the BN Federal government is a people-centric government. Unfortunately BN only looks after its cronies to earn extraordinary profits at the expense of 30 million Malaysians by allowing the North-South Highway to continue unjustifiably to collect toll.
LIM GUAN ENG