Urgent cable to Samy Vellu to get Cabinet to suspend the 100% increase in highway toll rates on 13th August 1987 until the resolution of the North South Highway privatization controversy

(Part 2 of) Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Malim Nawar DAP Dinner held at Malim Nawar, Kampar on Sunday, 9.8.1987

Urgent cable to Samy Vellu to get Cabinet to suspend the 100% increase in highway toll rates on 13th August 1987 until the resolution of the North South Highway privatization controversy

I understand that the Works Minister, Datuk Samy Vellu, has returned to Malaysia ahead of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, and I have sent him an urgent cable asking him to get the Cabinet on Wednesday, 12th August 1987, to suspend the 100% increase of highway toll rates – which is to be effected from Thursday, 13th August 1987.

Under the new toll rate, four-wheeled vehicles which were paying 2.5 can per km will now pay 5 sen per km, lorries will now pay 10 sen per km and heavy vehicles 15 sen per km. This means that motorists traveling the 116 km Kuala Lumpur – Ayer Keroh (Malacca) stretch will have to pay $5.80. the new rates will apply to the Ipoh-Changkat Jering expressway which will open soon.

The Cabinet should suspend the 100% increase in the highway toll rate until the resolution of the North-South Highway privatization contract controversy. The United Engineers Malaysia (UEM) will take over the existing stretches of the North South Highway, including 11 intercharges and 12 toll plazas at the KL-Ayer Keroh stretch, and all toll collections as well once the NSH contract is signed.

As the UKM’s North-South Highway (NSH) contract has not been finalized, in view of the variations which the Works Minister said he would be seeking during his meeting with DAP MPs on July 16, the 100% toll rate increase should also be put in suspension. This is because toll rate is one of the important items of the UEM’s NSH privatization contract. Datuk Samy Vellu should get UEM consider a more reasonable toll rate, namely 3.5 sen per km for four-wheeled vehicles from 1987-1992 and 5 sen per km from 1992-1997. If the new toll rates of 100% increase are implemented on Thursday, the government would be unilaterally giving away an important bargaining point in the UEM privatization contract for NSH. This would be a most extraordinary manner for Datuk Samy Vellu to negotiate better terms from UEM for the NSH!

The Government Cabinet should also reconsider its decision to impose a 30 sen toll rate for motor-cyclists, as the UEM in its tender for the NSH privatization contract, explicitly exempted motor-cyclists from having to pay toll. Why give UEM something which it had originally said it would not charge?

I will be contracting Datuk Samy Vellu tomorrow for a second meeting with him on the NSH privatization contract, as the Works Minister had issued me a standing invitation to meet him anytime on the matter.

Ungku Aziz’s own credibility is badly damaged by his sweeping generalizations against the Malaysian Chinese

Royal Professor Ungku Aziz has made a most unfair and unfortunate sweeping generalization when he recently said that the Chinese in Malaysia have lost their virtues and credibility, thus giving rise to the co-operative finance scandal.

It is true that there are co-operative crooks and political sharks, among so-called ‘pillars’ of the Chinese community, which caused the 580,000 co-operative depositors to become the victims of this massive co-operative finance fraud. But Professor Ungku Aziz should realize that if not for the gross negligence of the Co-operative Department, the Finance Ministry and even Bank Negara, the co-operative scandal would not have reached 10 per cent of its magnitude! Why didn’t he condemn the ‘government crooks’ who allowed the co-operative scandal to reach its final scale?

Professor Ungku Aziz should know that there are also ‘corporate crooks’ in the Malay community. Why is he silent about the massive criminal breach of trust, fraud and misuse of public funds in the BMF scandal, and the numerous multi-million and even multi-billion projects involving top UMNO leaders? Professor Ungku Aziz’s credibility suffers if he sees loss of moral values in one community but deliberately ignore the same loss in moral values in another community. Furthermore, he is being most unfair when he attributes the moral decline of a group of unscrupulous people to the entire community. Ungku Aziz should not lose his sense of fair play just because he was criticized for the University of Malaya decision on the elective courses!