Current Affairs

BN helping toll cronies to prosper at rakyat’s expense

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua has accused the Barisan Nasional government of using inflated highway concession costs as an excuse to allow its cronies to reap huge profits from highway tolls.

Yesterday, Works Minister Fadillah Yusof claimed it would cost RM400 billion to take possession of tolled highways in the country, a claim which Pua refuted. 

“The BN Government must be crazy to pay RM400 billion to buy back all toll concessionaires when the total cost of construction of all 26 privatized highways cost less than RM29 billion” said Pua.

“There are current 26 tolled highways in operation in Peninsula Malaysia. By tabulating the cost of construction for each of these highways, the total bill amounts to only RM28.5 billion.

“The most expensive of these highways is the North South Expressway costing RM5.95 billion to be built.” he added.

Tony Pua highlighted that the supposed buy-back cost, which is a staggering 14 times the RM28.5 billion cost of construction, indicated that it might have included compensation for the loss of future profits.

“What type of Government do we have that signed contracts which allow these private crony companies the opportunity make astronomical profits at the expense of the man-on-the-street?” he asked.

Pua said the Minister’s answer showed that the BN government was more interested to protect its crony company’s profits than to serve the rakyat.

“It is clear from the Minister’s answers, the BN government does not prioritize the interest of ordinary Malaysians who are suffering from the highest inflation rate in more than a decade.  BN should stop the pretence of wanting to reduce the burden of the rakyat by playing the fool with a RM400 billion buy back claim,” he said.

If the government truly wanted to make an effort to ease the people’s burden and by back the toll concessionaires, it could opt to do so in installments, Pua said. He suggested that for a start, it could first acquire highways that are making unreasonable profits, such as the Damansara Puchong Expressway (LDP), which makes a net profit margin in excess of 40 percent. -The Rocket

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