Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and Mp for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth Section seminar on “North-South Highway” held at Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on Thursday, 27.8.1987 at 8 p.m. on the topic: “North-South Highway, can you afford at?”
Call on Datuk Samy Vellu to freeze the 100% increase in toll rates for all sections of the North-South Highway until the final award of the North-South Highway privatization contract
As a result of the DAP’s vigorous protests against the proposed toll increases at the North-South Highway by 100%, the Works Minister, Datuk Samy Vellu, at the opening of the Senawang-Ayer Keroh Highway on 13th August 1987, announced a month-long postponement of the increase until Sept 15.
This is most unsatisfactory, for it will mean that the motorists get a reprieve for one month, but for the next 25-30 years, they will become the slaves to the toll system of UEM in the North-South Highway. This is clearly on unfair bargain.
Yesterday, Datuk Samy Vellu announced in Teluk Intan that the new Ipoh-Changkat Jering Highway (the latest completed section of the NSH) will be toll-free for a month from Monday, and the toll levy imposed on Sept. 28 when it is officially opened by the Sultan of Perak.
As the Supreme Court has yesterday granted an injunction to stop the signing of the UEM contract for the North-South Highway privatization deal, pending the outcome of the suit I had filed concerning the legality of the UEM contract arising from conflict-of-interest issues, I call on Datuk Samy Vellu to freeze the 100% increase in toll rates for all sections of the North-South Highway (i.e. Kuala Lumpur – Ayer Keroh and Ipoh – Changkat Jering) until the final award of the North-South Highway contract.
Under the original terms of the UEM contract, the completed sections of the North-South Highway would be handed over to UEM for toll collection once the contract is signed. As toll rate is the most important item of the NSH privatization contract, the government should not unilaterally increase it by 100%, which would give the impression that the government is very keen to benefit the UEM.
Yesterday, the press reported that civil service unions are unhappy over the privatization of highway projects because they feel the Public Works Department (PWD) has the capability and resources to do the job. They also said that PWD men and equipment are being left idle while major roads and highways are being built by private contractors. There are even PWD machineries which are rusting away in stores.
This is a most serious situation, and the Works Minister must give serious attention to this problem. The government should consider the possibility of the Highway Authority Malaysia completing the North-South Highway without privatization, as in the proposed UEM proposed contract for NSH, the interests of UEM took precedence over public interests.
DAP to launch a mass signature campaign in Klang Valley to protest against toll for Federal Highway Route II on Sept.2
The privatization of the widening of the Federal Highway Route II to enable UEM to impose toll in the North-South Highway privatization package is a good illustration. Although the Federal Highway Route II is an old highway, UEM is to get the franchise to impose toll for 25-30 years just by widening the stretch from Subang to Klang with an outlay of $100 million.
This is most indefensible on public interest grounds, and for this reason, the DAP will launch a mass signature campaign in the Klang Valley to protest against toll for Federal Highway Route II on Sept. 2, next Wednesday. Toll can be collected for the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) as it is a new expressway, but Federal highway Route II must be kept toll-free!