LETTER | Sometime early this year the Malaysia Consumers Movement (MCM) received an email from a member of public, which we reproduce as follows:
Details of the writer have been withheld.
“Dear Sir, I live in Petaling Jaya and my office is located in Sri Damansara. My gross monthly salary is RM3,000. Every day I commute to and from work via three tolled highways, namely the Pantai Expressway, where I pay RM2.50, the Penchala Link RM3 and the LDP RM2.10 per transaction. In total a return journey costs me RM15.20 per day.
“Taking into consideration an average of 24 working days in a month, I end up paying RM 364.80, which is approximately 12 percent of my salary. Highway toll payment directly takes a toll on my own household income.
“Yes I have an option to use a non-tolled route, but due to traffic, it takes me much longer to reach my office, impacting my own productivity. I also have to drop my kid at the babysitter. It also causes stress build-up, which in am sure in time will trigger health issues.
“I hope the government takes over all highways in the Klang Valley and standardise toll amount to not more than RM1 per transaction. I am not going to be unreasonable demanding a free journey as these highways would have to be maintained for which I will gladly contribute towards. I hope that the MCM can highlight this to the government.
“Thank you, Sir.”
The MCM applauds the government’s recently announced decision to acquire major highways in Klang Valley but in the case that these highways are indeed acquired, the MCM calls for a ceiling cap on toll amount to not more that RM1 per transaction across board. Please avoid implementing congestion charge.
Other than the writer above, we are sure that many of us have for years endured similar predicament in our daily lives. A reduction of toll will help increase the disposable income of the people and this will directly contribute towards mitigating the high cost of living challenges, which continue to be a topic of discussion.
Highways are public service infrastructure projects and thus should not be used merely to generate income, even by the government.
Improved productivity will help our economy prosper and be beneficial towards wider socio-economic prosperity of the nation.
DARSHAN SINGH DHILLON is president of the Malaysia Consumers Movement (MCM).
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.