Highway operators already making money without toll hike, says Guan Eng

December 18, 2013 8:25 AM

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Major highways are expected to see hike in toll rates by between 50 sen and RM2. - The Malaysian Insider, December 18, 2013.Putrajaya cannot justify increasing toll charges as highway concessionaires have reported huge profits over the past five years, said DAP.

Citing Litrak, the concessionaire for Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP), as an example, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said its cumulative net profit over the past five years was almost RM500 million with a revenue of RM1.65 billion.

"For the financial year 2013, Litrak made a net profit of RM127.2 million from a revenue of RM370.7 million.

"The revenue includes RM86.5 million in compensation from Putrajaya in return for keeping the toll rate unchanged for 2012."

Lim said even without Putrajaya's compensation, Litrak would still make a profit of RM41 million.

"Without any toll hikes, Litrak's revenue and profits have been growing at about 5% and profit after tax is within range of 30% to 35%," he added.

Motorists on LDP currently pay RM1.60 for each toll, which is expected to be increased to RM2 or more.

Lim said Putrajaya should stop justifying the increase in toll charges, adding that it had in October 2010 announced a five-year cap on toll rate for five expressways, following negotiation of a new deal with highway concessionaire PLUS.

"Therefore, BN should not lie that highway contracts cannot be renegotiated to stop companies from increasing toll rates."

"This is especially as the companies have either recouped their investment or construction cost when BN renegotiated such contracts in 2010," Lim said.

He claimed that the BN renegotiated the contracts in 2010 to forestall toll rates increases in preparation for the 13th general election.

"Furthermore, when the moratorium expires in 2015, toll increases were supposed to have been fixed at 5% every three years instead of 10%.

"PLUS also agreed to waive RM6.2 billion of compensation claims against Putrajaya during the renegotiation in 2010," said Lim.

The five-year moratorium, said Lim, shows that Putrajaya could renegotiate a more acceptable deal for the people instead of enriching its cronies further.

"To satisfy their cronies’ greed, BN is willing to sell out the interests of the people,” said the Penang Chief Minister.

"Malaysians can also ask why they were not given the freedom not to choose the toll concessionaires that were granted without open competitive tenders."

Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar told motorists they could use other roads if they did not wish to pay for tolled highways.

Lim was however convinced that Putrajaya could still renegotiate a new contract and avoid a toll hike.

He said the increase in fuel, sugar and electricity prices, with hikes in toll and an impending hike in public transportation fares, would mean more suffering for the people.

"The increase of Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia from RM500 to RM650 is meaningless for poor income groups. Middle class families will suffer more as they do not get any assistance." - December 18, 2013.

Source: themalaysianinsider.com

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