More questions over toll deals

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More questions over toll deals

Postby admin » Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:55 am

KUALA LUMPUR: Confusion reigned at the library in the Works Ministry on the second day after toll agreements in the country were declassified.

Politicians and reporters, who had turned up as early as 7.30am to get access to the documents although the library opened at 9am, were dismayed to find that much of the contents were either too technical, incomplete or that they just had no time to digest the information.

With public viewing in the morning restricted to only five people at one time for a maximum of two hours and one document each, reporters had to rely on information supplied by politicians, who were given priority to read the agreements.

As at lunchtime, only one reporter had managed to read an agreement relating to the New Pantai Express­way but complained that she could not fully understand the content or compensation formula.

In the evening, however, 15 people were allowed in at one time after Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed gave the directive to the library to expand the facility.

There was also grumbling after some of the reporters, who had turned up early for their turns to look at the documents, got bumped down in the queue after politicians made an earlier booking with the library,

Among the “incomplete” documents were the deals for the SMART Tunnel, which only came with the first 118 pages without any appendix or schedules, and the Shapadu toll agreement, which was only 16 pages long. None of the agreements also carried with any subsequent exemption or additional clauses.

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, who led a DAP delegation, said the Damansara-Puchong Highway was making excessive profits and called for the Government to stop compensating the operator.

The highway operator had initially set its toll rate at RM2.10 but reduced it to RM1.60 in the last adjustment in 2007.

“Under the agreement, the toll charge will rise to RM3.10 in 2016. In its financial prospectus, the highway operator has stated that the construction cost was RM1.327bil and that the 30-year projected profit was RM18.865bil.

“Between 1997 and 2006, it was supposed to have made a profit of RM1.22bil, nearly the construction cost. So, their collection to date has more than paid for the highway and what they are collecting for the next 20 years, is excess profits,” he said, adding that to allow Kesas to raise toll charges by more than 10% every two years until 2022 was also excessive.

Pua called on the Government to nationalise the highways to lighten the financial burden of the people and keep toll charges minimum.

Read the full article:
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?fi ... sec=nation
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Future agreements will be made public, says ministry

Postby admin » Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:56 am

KUALA LUMPUR: All future toll concession agreements signed between the Government and highway operators will be made public.

Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed said this as the Govern­ment decided to declassify 22 out of the 23 toll concession agreements beginning last Friday.

However, as at 4pm on the second day of public viewing yesterday, only 17 toll agreements were available at the Works Ministry’s library.

The agreements were for the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP), Guthrie, Sprint, Besraya, Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway, SMART Tunnel, NNKSB, Metramac, Kesas, Grand Saga, Lebuhraya Pintas Selat Klang Baru, NPE, MTD, Penang Bridge, SILK, BORR and Shapadu.

Only Maju Expressway, which operates the Kuala Lumpur-Putrajaya highway, has not given its consent for its toll agreement to be declassified.

Zin said PLUS, the New Klang Valley Expressway and other toll agreements would be made available to the public from noon yesterday.

“If it’s not (ready) in time for today, the public can view it tomorrow,” he assured.

Asked if any future toll agreement would be made public, Zin said the Government had taken the first step in declassifying the documents.

“That is the way in future,” he said.

Asked about suggestions that the expressways should be nationalised, Zin said the Government “was not looking at the option at the moment”.

On certain highway operators already making profits due to high traffic volume, Zin said it was time such companies looked into “giving something back in return.”

“That’s why we are seeking an understanding on this concession agreement so that the ones who have really shown good returns on their investments reflect their corporate responsibility and give discounts and rebates like what PLUS has done.

Read the full article:
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?fi ... sec=nation
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MP: Buy back highway

Postby admin » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:25 am

KUALA LUMPUR: Petaling Jaya Utara member of parliament Tony Pua yesterday urged the government to seriously consider buying back the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong from Lingkaran Trans Kota Sdn Bhd.

Pua, who visited the Works Ministry library to study the declassified toll concession agreement, said that it was more profitable for the government and less burdensome for the public if the LDP was expropriated.

After studying the agreement, he found that the construction cost of the LDP was RM1.327 billion, while the projected profit amounted to RM18.86 billion when the concession expired in 2028.

On top of that, Pua said that the government had been shelling out RM630 million as compensation since 1993 to keep the highway affordable.

"Doing the maths, it is more viable for the government to reacquire the highway," he said, adding that there was a clause which allowed the government to buy back the LDP by giving the concessionaire three months' notice.
"According to the agreement, the government will have to compensate the value of construction work and pay the outstanding amount due to shareholders at a rate of 12 per cent per annum."

He was accompanied by Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching and Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San.

Pua said the government would have to fork out RM1.5 billion to take over the LDP.

"That's a reasonable amount, compared with compensation of RM630 million up to last year."

The government was spending RM75 million a year on compensation.

Read the full article:
http://www.nst.com.my/Wednesday/Frontpa ... index_html
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Submit memo on toll pacts, says Mohd Zin

Postby admin » Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:32 am

KUALA LUMPUR: Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed has invited all parties who have studied the recently declassified toll concession agreements to give him a memorandum with their queries or suggestions.

Mohd Zin said that to date, he had not received anything in writing from those who had aired their views in the media.

“It would be very helpful if they can submit a memorandum to me and then we will respond accordingly,” Mohd Zin told reporters after hosting Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Otri at the Malaysian Construction Industry Showcase here yesterday.

Mohd Zin said the views of various parties published in newspapers might have been made without proper study due to the brief time given to them to study the concession agreements.

He added that there would be no time limit for memorandums to be handed in to him and that it was his duty as minister to respond.

To answer a question on whether highway concessionaire PLUS Expressways would be raising its toll rates this year, Mohd Zin said he would be submitting a working paper for the Cabinet to deliberate.

“The official statement will be made later,” he said.

Mohd Zin also said he had ordered all agencies that would be getting allocations from the RM7bil economic stimulus package to roll out projects by the first quarter of this year.

On the Syrian Prime Minister’s visit, Mohd Zin said Mohammad Naji was impressed by what Malaysia had to offer in terms of the technical expertise available.

“He was also impressed by the SMART tunnel and expressed support for the Damascus Outer Ring Road project that is being implemented by a Malaysian company.”

Read the full article:
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?fi ... sec=nation
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