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Why Harapan leaders protested against AES before

Published:  |  Modified:

Pakatan Harapan leaders protested against the Automated Enforcement System (AES) for road traffic because it was privatised by the previous administration, Khalid Abdul Samad said.

The Amanah communications director said last night that he and Harapan politicians like Mahfuz Omar protested against AES when they were the opposition as privatisation meant that fines collected through the AES would go to private companies.

"When you say privatised, it means the collection of the fines go to private companies. The fines that are collected do not go to the government, the police or the Road Transport Department (JPJ).

"So now, under the Pakatan Harapan government, we changed that. The collections from the summonses don’t go to the private companies. It all goes to the JPJ and the government,” Khalid was quoted as saying by news portal Free Malaysia Today.

The federal territories minister was speaking during a live debate session when he explained the reason behind Harapan leaders like him no longer protesting against the AES, like they used to before the coalition took over Putrajaya.

On Monday, former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak took to Facebook lambasting Mahfuz, who is Amanah vice-president, for changing his stance on the AES after Harapan took over the federal government.

Last year, Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook announced that Putrajaya would fully take over the AES project from the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT).

LTAT had previously invested some RM555 million to take over AES from two project concessionaire companies - ATES Sdn Bhd and Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd.

Loke had then revealed that a lopsided agreement between the government and the concessionaire companies saw the two firms entitled to 50 percent of the AES fines collected, based on the original RM300 rate.

The government was also supposed to pay RM16 for every summons issued by the two companies, regardless of whether the fine was collected or not.

The two companies, Loke said, had raked in RM129 million from these two-tiered payments, against RM10 million of their costs to install 47 AES cameras.

Meanwhile, the news portal also quoted Khalid as saying that the current RM300 traffic fine "may be too high" for first-time offenders.

He said personally, he believed that first-time offenders should pay only between RM50 and RM100, while repeat offenders can be subjected to between RM200 and the maximum RM300 fine.

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