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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Guan Eng: No excuse to raise toll, operators already making big money

Sulaiman Kamal | 5:18 PM | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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DAP secretary-general Lm Guan Eng said there was no excuse for the federal government to increase toll rates because the major highway concessionaires had already recovered their construction costs and were already making "exorbitant" profits.
"This is a cash cow at our expense. We want to know why the toll rates keep on increasing. They are already making money. Project Lebuhraya Utara Selatan is the most glaring example and its concession will last until 2039," Guan Eng told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

According to Lim, the North-South Expressway was built at a cost of RM5.9 billion, but it has since collected more than RM23.5 billion in toll fees, on top of RM735.2 million in compensation from the federal  government.
Amid strong public criticism that BN cronies were benefitting at the expense of road users, Lim who is the Bagan MP had posed the question to Parliament. He was sharing with reporters the written reply from Deputy Works Minister Yong Khoon Seng.
Yong had said concessionaires managing 27 highways pulled in a total of RM37.7 billion from toll collections. In addition, they also received RM2.1 billion from the government as compensation. Total construction costs amounted to RM26.4 billion, giving the concessionaires profits exceeding RM13 billion.
Many of the highways were privatised to firms with connection to the UMNO elite, in particular former premier Mahathir Mohamad, who defended their high costs as a necessary 'evil' for modernization of the country.

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