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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

We have to pay for Najib’s toll ‘freebie’, says Tony Pua

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PETALING JAYA: Tony Pua says the proposal to abolish four tolls in Budget 2018 tabled by Prime Minister Najib Razak at the Dewan Rakyat last Friday is not a genuine benefit as the people will have to pay for it ultimately.
The Petaling Jaya Utara MP made particular reference to the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) toll in Johor, as the concessionaire is MRCB, which only operates that one highway in the country.
“MRCB are desperately looking to sell the loss-making highway. MRCB also doesn’t own any other highway assets.
“Hence, the only way for the EDL toll to be abolished is for Putrajaya to fork out a multi-billion ringgit compensation for MRCB.
“Therefore, Najib Razak must come clean as to how much taxpayers must fork out to pay for the EDL and how the compensation is calculated,” Pua said in a statement.
Aside from the EDL, Najib had announced that the toll collection at Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau in Shah Alam and Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah will cease from Jan 1, 2018.
PLUS Malaysia Bhd, which holds the concession for Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau in Shah Alam, and Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah, had last year expressed interest to buy Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd’s (MRCB) stake in the EDL.
“The rakyat’s biggest fear is the Najib administration bailing out highway concessionaires, further proving that Barisan Nasional’s intrinsic economic policy is to ‘privatise profits and socialize losses’,” Pua said.
The DAP national publicity secretary said any attempt by the Najib administration to replicate the Pakatan Harapan Alternative Budget, which promised to abolish all highway tolls over time fell short of its objective.
He said this was because even with the PLUS-managed tolls which are to be abolished, the impact was quickly negated by Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani the day after the Budget 2018 announcement.
“Johari very quickly burst the balloons by admitting that the government is looking at increasing the concession period for other tolls belonging to PLUS as compensation.
“This simply means that Malaysians will end up paying toll fares for longer periods on other highways,” Pua said.
The other toll highways under PLUS’ management are the North-South Expressway, Seremban-Port Dickson Highway, Butterworth-Kulim Expressway and Malaysia-Singapore Second Link.
“Simply put, the burden of the political move by Najib to ‘free’ the tolls in Selangor, Kedah and Johor will be ‘shared’ by BN supporters in other parts of the country.” -FMT

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