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Pua: Toll hikes due to failed privatisation policies

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The toll hikes to be implemented on Thursday is the result of the BN government's "failed privatisation policies", said DAP lawmaker Tony Pua.

He added that BN's privatisation policies and the awarding of highway concessions to crony companies without open tenders being called have also failed.

Pua said the people have been tricked into accepting the toll concession scheme as these projects were initially masked via lower toll rates.

"The Works Ministry can't even be bothered to provide a more convincing excuse, other than to say that ‘the amount saved from the increase can be utilised to implement development projects that will have a multiplier effect on the economy’," he added.

According to the DAP leader, the toll hikes also proved that the BN government is incapable of managing the country's finances.

"The corruption, wastages, inefficiency and misappropriation of government funds have taken a toll on government expenditures.

"Despite massive increases in revenue over the past two decades resulting from the oil price boom, Malaysians not only have to pay heavily to use our own highways, but the federal government is now so impoverished that it needs to raise new taxes like the goods and services tax (GST)," he said.

The people are already burdened with GST, the sharp depreciation of the Ringgit and a weak economy, he pointed out, and now they have the added burden of the toll hikes.

"Come Thursday, Malaysian motorists will feel like they have been run over by a speeding monster truck.

"The increase in toll rates merely allows the crony toll concessionaires to reap astronomical profits at the expense of the man-on-the-street, with the consent of the government," he added.

Re-examine concession agreements

PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (photo) also slammed the government for the toll rate hikes.

"For the people, the government dares to implement GST, gets rid of subsidies, and deafens its ears to the rising cost of living.

"Why is the government not using the same courage to re-examine the concession agreements, even though toll concessionaires' earnings have multiplied?" Tuan Ibrahim asked.

He said there is no good reason for the toll concessionaires or the government to increase the toll rates.

He lamented that the people even have to give "advance payment" to the toll concessionaires through the use of Touch ’n Go cards.

As such, Tuan Ibrahim suggested that rebates be given to those forced to make this "advance payment".

Government no longer cares for the people

PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said, in a separate statement, that the toll rate hikes are also proof that the BN government is no longer attuned to the concerns of the people.

"The toll hikes at more than 10 highways are proof that the Umno/BN government is not sensitive at all to the reality faced by the people lately," he said.

He called for the government to stop the planned toll hikes.

Instead, Fahmi ( photo ) wanted the government to allow the people to scrutinise the concession agreements for all highways and re-examine the current toll rates to see if they can actually be reduced.

"Otherwise, Najib's administration should be prepared to face the people's sentiments, which are becoming increasingly angry and ready for change," he said.

It was announced yesterday that toll hikes will rise up to 100 percent on Thursday, Oct 15.

The Works Ministry has said that the toll hikes would allow for the funding of other projects.

Related reports

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Toll hike suicidal, says Pakatan Harapan

Toll hike - translation blunder in BN election manifesto

Pua: Toll hikes due to failed privatisation policies

Double blow - after GST, rakyat hit by toll hikes

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