by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 12th September 1990:
DAP calls for all the documents related t the Teratai privatization contract for the Cheras tolls to be made public
Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, said yesterday that it would cost the Government $200 million in subsidies if it reduced the toll charges by 50 per cent.
Ghafar Baba is therefore suggesting that if the Cheras toll is abolished altogether, it will cost the Government $400 million.
Are these figures correct? The Cheras residents and the Malaysian public are entitled to access to all the documents related to the Teratai privatization contract for the Cheras tolls to ascertain whether the figures quoted by the Deputy Prime Minister are over-inflated figures.
Why should the Teratai privatization contract documents be kept secret under lock and key?
The DAP therefore calls on the Government to make public all the documents related to the Teratai privatization contract for the Cheras tolls.
How can the Cabinet be so irresponsible as to decide on the Cheras toll of $1 without considering whether it is high or low?
Ghafar Baba also said that the toll charge of $1 was recommended by the Works Ministry, and the Cabinet approved it without considering whether the toll was high or low.
This is a shocking confession. The Cabinet had been most irresponsible and negligent in this regard. How can the Cabinet approve the Cheras tolls without considering whether it would be a crushing burden on the 200,000 residents living in the 60-odd housing estates?
This confirm the earlier allegation by the Gerakan Deputy Works Minister, Alex Lee, that the MCA Ministers had never been bothered about the Cheras tolls issue in Cabinet, except that this applied equally to the Gerakan Minister, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, as well.
If what Ghafar said is true, then the Cabinet Ministers must bear full responsibility for the Cheras tolls demonstrations and incidents last weekend, for they had created an explosive situation by their utter disregard of the people’s interests when approving the Teratai tolls charges. The Cabinet Ministers completely ignored the memorandum and representation the people of Cheras sent to the Government on the issue, treating them as no better than waste-paper.
It would appear that the Cheras tolls-collection company, Teratai K.G.Sdn. Bhd., has very great influence and power. It could get the Cabinet to give blank-cheque approval for its toll charges without any Minister raising whether the toll was high or low.
Teratai K.G. Sdn. Bhd. Could also turn a dispute involving the it and the Cheras residents into a confrontation between the Cheras residents and the police.
But most important of all, Teratai K.G. Sdn. Bhd. Could unilaterally decide to impose toll on Sept 1 without any approval giving a public promise that there would be no imposition of Cheras toll for at least another year..
If the Teratai K.G. Sdn. Bhd. Had imposed toll at Cheras on Sept 1 without the approval of the Cabinet, why can’t the Cabinet direct an immediate suspension of the collection of tolls at Cheras, until a satisfactory solution had been amiably reached?
I have called for all documents of the Teratai privatization contract to be made public, for the people would want to know what right the Teratai Sdn. Bhd. had for imposing toll on Sept 1, and why the Cabinet could not order an immediate suspension of all tolls collections at Cheras.
If by ordering an immediate suspension of the Cheras toll collection, the government must pay compensation to the Teratai K.G. Sdn. Bhd., then this must be borne by the Government because the Cheras toll issue is caused by the negligence and irresponsibility of the Cabinet Ministers, who failed to consider whether the toll is high or low, and whether it is an excessive burden on the 200,000 residents.
Call for immediate release of Tan Kok Wai, Lim Yit Chee and Wong Ah Chee
The police should have ample time to establish that the demonstrations by 10,000 people in Cheras on Friday was a spontaneous show of frustration by the Cheras residents and was not organized by any political party or organization.
The police profile in the Cheras tolls issue should be reduced as it is not a security problem, but a socio-economic issue.
I therefore call on the Police to immediately release DAP MP for Sungei Besi, Tan Kok Wai, the special assistant to DAP MP for Bukit Bintang, Lim Yit Chee and the Chairman of the Cheras toll exemption committee, Wong Ah Chee, who had been detained under the Internal Security Act.
The police should also all charges against the 48 people, including several juveniles, arrested by the police since last Friday’s Cheras toll demonstrations.