Shahrir: Government must take back highways

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Shahrir: Government must take back highways

Postby admin » Tue Nov 27, 2007 1:50 am

JOHOR BARU: The Government takeover of highway management from Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan Bhd (PLUS) is crucial in solving the problem of increase in toll rates, said Johor Baru MP Datuk Shahrir Samad.

Shahrir said the takeover would mark the end of the expressway's privatisation and turn it into a public asset.

“The takeover would mean the end of the concession period.

“The toll charges could be used for maintenance works and funds saved from ending the concession could be used to fill public needs,” said Shahrir after launching a blood donation campaign in Plaza Pelangi here yesterday.

Shahrir, who is Public Accounts Committee chairman, said that among the problems caused by privatisation was a short payback period of bank loans that resulted the concessionaire seeking higher rates which would eventually lead to the public being burdened.

“Private companies have up to seven years to pay the loans but government entity has up to 20 years.

Shahrir also called for the matter of subsidy to be discussed in a wider context.

“The whole matter should be reviewed and only certain areas should be given subsidy.

“However, any action must not burden or disrupt any aid to the public,” he said.

On the general election, Shahrir said Johor Baru Umno was always ready.

“We always work as if the election is tomorrow.

“However, I hope it will not be too soon because I still have so much to do with the committee and my seat is still not warm yet,” he said.

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?fi ... sec=nation
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Highway takeover ‘will cost billions’

Postby admin » Tue Nov 27, 2007 1:51 am

SEREMBAN: The Government cannot afford to take over the country’s tolled highways as the cost can run into billions of ringgit, said Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

Such a move was also not possible as the shares in companies maintaining the highways were not owned by a single entity.

“This will be a massive burden on the Government. We cannot afford to take over these highways as the cost can run into billions of ringgit,” he told reporters after opening the SJK(T) Ladang Seremban in Sungai Gadut near here.

Samy Vellu was asked to comment on a proposal by Johor Baru MP Datuk Shahrir Samad that if the Government were to take over the management of the north-south highway from Plus, the people would not be burdened by regular increases in toll rates.

Shahrir, who is also Public Accounts Committe chairman, said any toll imposed after that could be used to maintain these highways as well as to carry out other government projects.

He said the Cabinet would deliberate tomorrow on the suggestions submitted by his ministry on ways to reduce the burden on motorists due to the impending toll increase on most highways on Jan 1.

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?fi ... sec=nation
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