MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pakatan's tolls policy: a polls ploy?

Pakatan's highway tolls policy as announced in its Manifesto is a dishonest carrot dangled before unsuspecting voters. It is a fraud designed to trap voters into thinking that tolls will be abolished immediately. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Mohamed Tahir Ismail 
The pledge has no substance and what it promises is no different from the current practice.

The Manifesto reads: "The Pakatan Rakyat government will take over the highways in stages for the purpose of abolishing tolls. As promised in the Orange Book (Buku Jingga), Pakatan Rakyat will take over the highways with the intention of gradually abolishing tolls."

Under the existing 'build-operate-transfer' concession agreements, all highways will eventually revert to the Government at the end of the concession periods. The Government then is at liberty to abolish tolls if it so wishes. So, what Pakatan is promising is exactly what the BN government had been practising all along.

To hold Pakatan to its promise therefore, the people will have to wait until the expiry of the concession period which could be anything from 10 to 20 years from now!

So, Pakatan will not have to do anything for the next decade or two (assuming it assumes power and stays in power for that period of time).

Even if Pakatan wishes to abolish tolls (albeit in the far distant future), this promise is a red herring. Because, tolls are a fact of life and an accepted way of life all over the world. It is a more equitable method of taxation because it only taxes the users unlike income tax.

Tolls are a common practice in all countries that have privatised the construction, operation and maintenance of public infrastructure. Even decades after their operation and long after the end of concession periods, hefty highway tolls are collected in the US, Japan, UK as well as in newly-emerging economies.

Ha, Ha, Pakatan's tolls policy is a polls ploy!

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