Speech ( Part 2) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Dap Secretary- General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang , at the DAP Federal Territory State committee meeting held in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, January 5 , 1994 , at 8pm.
Four DAP Federal Territory highly commended for defeating the Federal Roads ( Private Management ) ( Amendment) Bill which wants to impose a mandatory minimum fine of RM 2,000 for non-payment of private toll for roads or bridges
I want to commend the four DAP Federal Territory MPs, Sdr. Liew Ah Kim ( Siputeh) , Sdr. Tan Seng Giaw(Kepong), Sdr. Wee Choo Keng(Bukit Bintang) and Sdr. Tan Kok Wai( Sungai Besi) – for defeating in Parliament last month the Federal Roads minimum fine at RM 2,000 for non-payment of toll on roads or bridges by the private sector.
If the four DAP Federal Territory DAP MPs had not defeated this amendment bill on 23rd December 1993, by taking full advantage of the lack of quorum to stop Parliamnetary proceedings, the people of Kuala Lumpur would have an additional unjust and oppressive law to contend with.
It is most shocking that the Deputy Works Minister Kerk Choo Ting could prepose such an unjust , undemocratic and one-sided law to Parliament.
In the first place, why should Parliament pass such a law to impose a mandatory minimum fine of RM 2,000 for non-payment of private toll for roads and bridges?
If roads and bridges had been privatised , then it is up to the companies which had the franchise for the toll to take civil action for any non-payment by the public and not to make use of criminal law to criminal law to compel payment of toll.
Is the government prepared to give reciprocal rights to the commuters whereby the franchise company would be required to give a mandatory minimum compensation for any poor or bad service and maintenance of the road or bridge?
If the franchise company is not required to make mandatory minimum compensation to commuters for poor or bad service and maintenance of roads and bridges where it collects toll, then it is completely against the public interest that commuters have to pay a mandatory minimum fine of RM2,000 for failure to pay toll maybe 50 sen:
The Bill makes the refusal to pay 50sen toll a greater ‘crime; than corruption and criminal breach of trust involving millions or tens of millions of ringgit:
What is even more shocking is that the Federal Roads (private Management ) ( amendment) Bill provides for a fine of up to Rm 5,000 or a maximum one-year jail sentence for thr refusal to pay a 50 cent toll:
Although the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have repeatedly stressed the evils of corruption and criminal breach of trust , there is no mandatory minimum sentence of at least RM 2,000 fine for the offence of corruption.
It would appear that the refusal to pay a toll of 50 sen – maybe for very goof reason , as failure by the concessionaire company collecting toll to keep the road or bridge in serviceable condition – it an even greater offence in the eyes of the Barisan Nasional government than corruption and criminal breach of trust which sounld run inti millions or tens of millions of ringgit:
A DAP MP who refuses to pay 50 sen toll to protest against the poor quality or service or maintenance of the road or bridge by the concessionaire company would be fined a mandatory minimum sum of RM 2,000 and he would be disqualified as an MP and would not be able stand for any elective office or cast his vote for five years.
However, a Barisan Nasional Minister, Deputy Minister , Parliamentary Secretary , Chief Minister of Menteri Besar who is charged with corruption does not face any mandatory minimum fine of Rm 2,000 even if he is convicted of corruption!
The Government has worked with super-speed to introduce this legislation to Parliament to protect the interest of companies which had benefited from the privatisation programme, Anti-Corruption agency investigations whether with regard to the MAIKA Telekom shared hijacking scandal or the extraordinary wealth scandal of the Malacca Chief Minister.
This is clearly unacceptable. How can Kerk Choon Ting who declared in 1982 that he was attacking into Barisan Nasional to rectify the Barisan Nasional, justify such an immoral proposal , demonstrating that instead of rectifying Barisan Nasional, he allowed himself to be completely rectified by the Barisan Nasional instead.
There is at present no remedy for the public who are aggrieved against companies which are imposing toll for roads and bridges for their poor service , as these companies on duty, responsibility on obligation to the public whatsoever.
This one-sided relationship must be rectified, so that the public are not at the mercy of the companies which have won privatisation contracts.
For instance, the commuters and the public have a right to know the full details of the privatisation of roads and bridges awarded to private companies – which are at present invariably companies linked to powerful political personalities in UMNO – so that the public can monitor as to whether the these concessionaire companies are adhering to their contractual obligations and responsibilities.
Choo Ting should give an undertaking that the government would not re-introduce the new amendment bill in next Parliament
Kerk Choo Ting should give deep and serious thought to this issue, and give an undertaking that the government would not re-introduce the Federal Roads (private Management) ( Amendment) Bill on the following three grounds.
Unfair unjust and oppressive to impose mandatory minimum RM 2,000 fine for non-payment of toll when the Franchise Company collecting toll has no reciprocal obligation to pay minimum mandatory compensation to commuter for poor or bad service or maintenance.
Unjust and immoral that non-payment of 50sen toll is regarded as a greater offence and crime than corruption and criminal breach of trust involving millions or tens of millions if ringgit;
Against public interest that concessionaire companies collecting toll have one-sided relation ship with commuters, without having to adhere to principles of accountability by keeping secret their privatisation contracts with regard to their responsibilities and obligations to the commuters and the public.
If Kerk Choo Ting is not prepared to give an undertaking that the government drop the Federal Roads( private Management ) ( Amendment) Bill and would not re-introduce it at the next Parliamentary mention, then serious consideration should be given for the lauching of a mass signature campaign in the Federal Territory for the people to protest against such a proposal.