DEPUTY Works Minister Datuk Yong Khoon Seng was subjected to intense questioning by MPs over highway toll concession agreements and the quality of roads.
Winding up the Budget debate at committee stage, Yong refuted allegations that the Works Department staff were not capable of following standard procedures in carrying out road development projects.
On toll concessions, he said PLUS Expressway Bhd made a good move by giving a 10% toll reduction on selected highways between midnight and 7am.
“Maybe it will not please all of us, but we must understand that concessionares have to recoup and repay their loans and maintenance expenses,” he added.
PLUS had announced that the discount would begin on Jan 1, and that those travelling during festive seasons would get a further 10% reduction on selected days if they used the expressways during the same times.
To a call by Fong Po Kuan (DAP – Batu Gajah) that the discount time period was unsafe for lone women drivers, Yong said he would bring this up with the ministry.
Several opposition MPs also stood up, saying that they were dissatisfied with Yong’s replies on their queries on whether the toll rates would be reviewed.
Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN – Pasir Salak), known to enter into fiery verbal matches with Opposition MPs, urged Yong to ask the Government if it could ask highway concessionaries to further reduce the toll rates.
“Maybe no one had realised that more motorists were using the highways now. The traffic rate has also increased tremendously to about six million vehicles at the tolled highways now.
“This means that the concessionaries will have billions in extra profit,” he added.
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