We wish to respond to the Letter to the Editor from Choh Wah Ye as published by Malaysiakini on April 21, 2014, titled 'Is Kidex contrary to Pakatan’s 'no toll' promise?'
While we decline to comment on any political promises that were allegedly made by any party, the fact remains that both the Selangor state government and the federal government are duty-bound to act in the public interest.
And given the facts that we shall set out below, there is an indisputable case for the construction of the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) Skyway, and why it is tolled.
Government studies indicate that, back in 2008, there were just 2.6 million private vehicles travelling on the roads in the greater Klang Valley area.
This statistic is based on a multi-modal transport split of 17 percent using various modes of public transportation and 83 percent using private transportation, such as cars and motorcycles.
By 2025, this will change when 50 percent of the commuters are forecast to be travelling on public transportation and the balance 50 percent using private transportation.
These statistics seem to imply that in the years to come, there will be more people using public transportation and therefore, fewer Malaysians will be driving and clogging our roads.
However, making such a premise is wrong as the total number of cars plowing through the greater Klang Valley area will still increase to a whopping 3.9 million by 2025.
These projected figures also account for the annual growth in car ownership, both nationally and in the greater Klang Valley area.
According to the Malaysian Automotive Association, 655,793 motor vehicles were sold nationwide in 2013, which is a new record and represents a 4.5 percent growth over the 2012 figure.
Growing national population
And in its latest report, business consulting firm Frost and Sullivan says vehicle sales in Malaysia are set to grow by 4.2 percent in 2014, to reach an astounding 675,000 units.
Add to these figures, a growing national population, which the Department of Statistics says stands at just over 30 million people in April this year. Selangor’s population alone will grow to 6.5 million in 2020, just two years after the Kidex Skyway is built in 2018.
This simply means that demand for passenger vehicles will continue to rise to accommodate growing families.
So, to those who insist that highways are bad and should not be built, what roads are all these vehicles going to travel on without the LDP, NPE, Duke, MEX, Sprint, Kidex and others to accommodate them?
There is no doubt that, without these highways, these growing numbers of vehicles will end up right in front of our homes, as motorists and motorcyclists take short cuts through residential areas to avoid congested roads. Hence, we disagree that highways will not help to solve problems of traffic congestion.
Furthermore, the Kidex Skyway will facilitate a reduction in traffic by 30 percent at Jalan Templer and reduce traffic along Jalan Puchong and Jalan Klang Lama by 10 percent through its connection to Jalan Kinrara.
In so far as the levying toll is concerned, the Kidex Skyway is privately funded, with no loans or financial aid from the federal government. This means that the financial return to the concessionaire will be through the collection of toll, the rate of which will be set by the federal government.
Nonetheless, alternative toll-free roads will continue to be available to those who wish not to pay toll. In short, everyone has the freedom to choose whether they wish to pay toll and travel faster or use the city roads instead.
Finally, please allow me to say that as the concessionaire, Kidex Sdn Bhd supports all plans and policies to further develop public transport and create a multi-modal system in Selangor and the country.
However, such plans will have to include highways to accommodate the growing number of private vehicles on our roads.
MOHD NOR IDRUS is the chief executive officer of Kidex Sdn Bhd.