by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Friday, July 22, 1994:
PLUS should only collect 50 per cent of the toll rate for stretches of the North-South Highway where it could not provide a safe, smooth and comfortable driving to motorists either because of poor construction or maintenance
Last month, when I drove from Penang to Ipoh, I found that there was a fairly long stretch after the Perak state border where the North-South Highway was in a deplorable condition and posed hazards to motorists.
In that stretch, there were areas where, without notice, there would be a sudden depression, and also in press, where there would be sudden bumps – which could lead to motorists particularly at night losing control of their vehicles.
After my experience last month, I had called on the Works Ministry to ensure that PLUS maintains the North-South Highway in proper and sale condition so as to minimize accidents and not just be interested in collecting tolls.
Yesterday, I again drove from Penang to Ipoh in connection with the Perak DAP State Voters’ Registration Campaign.
The Taiping-Penang stretch of the North-South Highway is undoubtedly the worst stretch of the entire expressway in terms of quality of highway construction – as compared for instance with the solid highway construction between Ipoh and Changkat Jering which was completed in the eighties, when the Taiping-Penang stretch was completed only early this year.
Although PLUS has responded to my complaints last month by undertaking repairs and putting some signs warning of ‘humps’, the stretch from the Penang border to Taiping is still most unsatisfactory and dangerous.
The Taiping-Penang stretch of the North-South Highway must be the only stretch of the North-South Highway where there are permanent repair units on duty, with multiple repairs everyday affecting the smooth flow of Highway traffic.
Furthermore, the ‘humps’ signs can also be misleading and dangerous. This is because in the stretches where the ‘hump’ signs have been put up, the uneven stretches had been repaired, while in stretches where there are new depressions or humps, signs have not been put up.
Motorists are therefore likely to be misled into believing that PLUS had identified all the stretches with ‘humps’, when in fact the depressions and humps have developed in new stretches of the highway.
PLUS should only collect 50 per cent of the toll rate for stretches of the North-South Highway where it could not provide safe, smooth and comfortable driving for motorists whether because of poor construction or maintenance.
Furthermore, there should be prominent signs announcing the stretch where the motorists is entering and leaving 50 per cent toll rate, which will serve as the best reminder to the motorists to be careful as they are entering a part of the North-South Highway which is a traffic hazard because of poor construction or maintenance.