Friday, February 27, 2009

MPs shocked at increase in toll rates

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — Several members of parliament today expressed shock at the toll increases of five highways, beginning March 1.

Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi (BN-Batu Pahat) characterised the toll hike as inappropriate.

“Recently, the government had said it would give priority to the public in any decision when a concessionaire asked for an increase in toll fares, so I was surprised to hear that toll charges would be increased, beginning Sunday,” he said.

He said the government should postpone the increase as the mini-budget would be tabled on March 10.

Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid (BN-Padang Besar) did not deny that he would also feel the impact of the toll hike.

“When I was a minister, I never had to pay toll charges, I didn’t even know how much they were. Now that I live in Shah Alam and often travel to Kuala Lumpur, I have to go through many toll plazas and can feel the burden. I’m sure others feel the same way, too,” he said.

However, the Public Accounts Committee chairman said he understood the agreement made between the government and concessionaires which allowed the increases to be made.

“We do understand that it was agreed upon that toll charges would be increased and it’s hard for the government to avoid this. I don’t know exactly how much is being increased, but the government should review the matter so it doesn’t burden the people,” he said.

Deputy Education Minister Dr Wee Ka Siong also expressed dissatisfaction on the matter and hoped the government would review the matter.

“We still have a cabinet meeting this Friday and I hope this will be reviewed to ease the burden on motorists,” he said.

He urged Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, who will be presenting the mini-budget in March, to re-think the toll hike.

Zuraida Kamaruddin (PKR-Ampang) also criticised the move, saying that the toll fares were increased, just when petrol prices had gone down.

“Why must they increase toll fares when they had just reduced the price of petrol? This will burden the people because the prices of goods have not gone down, in addition to the economic downturn,” he said.

The North-South Expressway (PLUS), Sprint/Kerinchi/Damansara Link highways, Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Expressway (AKLEH), Sungai Besi Highway and the New Pantai Expressway (NPE) will see an increase of between 50 sen to 68 sen. — Bernama

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/19261-mps-shocked-at-increase-in-toll-rates

seals:

Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid (BN-Padang Besar) did not deny that he would also feel the impact of the toll hike. “When I was a minister, I never had to pay toll charges, I didn’t even know how much they were. Now that I live in Shah Alam and often travel to Kuala Lumpur, I have to go through many toll plazas and can feel the burden. I’m sure others feel the same way, too,” he said.

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