KUALA LUMPUR: The Government cannot order toll concessionaires to stop collecting toll just because congestion problems are not solved, Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamad told the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.
He said the agreement between the Government and concessionaires is the main consideration in making any decision.
If the number of toll collections reaches a certain threshold, it could be opened for negotiation and new benefits, he said, to which Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) demanded that he answer the question on whether the Government could order toll concessionaires to stop collecting toll if they did not resolve congestion problems at toll plazas and the surrounding areas.
Mohd Zin answered that it was not in the agreement.
“From the agreement with the concessionaires, after we handed the infrastructure to the private sector, they have their financial obligations and this has to be complied with and we cannot take action as we like,” he said.
Gobind had earlier asked what steps the Government was taking to overcome the congestion at toll plazas in the Puchong area.
Based on a reply by the ministry, the development cost for the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP) was RM1.6bil and the agreement signed allowed for the collection of toll from 2008 to 2030 with an estimated collection of RM13bil, he said.
He asked why the Government did not ensure corporate social responsibility from the beginning when agreements were signed and whether the agreement allowed the Government to stop concessionaires from collecting toll when traffic congestion problems persist and whether the Government ensured that alternative routes were provided for because there were no toll-free roads in Puchong.
Mohd Zin said the Malaysian Highway Board was aware of the congestion at the LDP especially during peak hours and at the toll plaza while rapid development in Puchong had also increased the traffic flow.
To overcome the problem, the LDP concessionaire had increased the number of toll collection booths at the Puchong West (Puchong-Shah Alam) and Puchong South (Puchong-Putrajaya) while drivers were encouraged to use the Touch ’n Go or SmartTag system, he said.
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