Charade December 27, 2006Posted by elizabethwong in Economy, Event, Malaysia.
(noun) farce, pantomine, travesty, mockery, parody, pretense, act, masquerade
While this is an apt description of The Consummate Liar, it is equally applicable to those starring in the mystery titled, ‘The Woe of Tolls’, scheduled for release on 1 Jan 2007
Consider the following three statements by Works Minister, Samy Vellu on three different occasions:-
September 22, 2005 19:47 PM
A Total RM38.5 Billion Compensation For Highway Concessionaires
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 (Bernama) — The government, as a result of bowing to public pressure not to increase toll rates according to the concession agreement with highway operators, has till now paid a whopping RM38.5 billion in compensation to these companies, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said Thursday.
He said the multi-billion ringgit figure included compensation in cash, tax exemption and the government giving up its profit sharing with the highway concessionaires. [...]
March 07, 2006 11:38 AM
No Toll Increase This Year, Says Samy Vellu
PETALING JAYA, March 7 (Bernama) — Good news for motorists. There will be no highway toll increase this year.
The assurance came from Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu who said Tuesday that the government would not allow any toll increase this year.
He said the ministry also did not face any pressure from the highway toll concessionaires to increase the rates.
“There’s no pressure. No one can pressure the Works Ministry, It’s (ministry) pressure-proof,” he told a news conference after opening the International Conference and Exhibition on Tunnelling and Trenchless Technology in the 21st Century here.
He, however, declined to comment when asked whether there would be any toll hike next year.
“We are talking about this year, why talk about other years,” he said, to the amusement of the reporters. [...]
and now we have this:-
NST, 28 NOVEMBER 2006
Toll on 5 highways going up
KUALA LUMPUR: Toll rates for five highways will be increased next year. The five highways are Guthrie Corridor, Kuala Lumpur-Karak, Cheras-Kajang, Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong and Lebuhraya Shah Alam.
The government has decided to discontinue the subsidies given to the concession holders from Jan 1.
In announcing this, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said the quantum of increase in the rates would be determined after a study.
Speaking to reporters after witnessing the signing of a new highway concession, Samy Vellu said the government would have had to fork out RM2 billion in compensation to the five concession companies had it decided not to allow them to increase the toll rates.
He said the compensation element was provided for in the concession agreements.
There are 17 active highway concessionaires and some of them increased their toll charges in 2004. Under concession agreements, highway concessionaires can increase toll rates after three to five years.
The government decided recently that toll concession holders should be either compensated or allowed to increase their toll charges, rather than have their concession agreements extended.
“Next year, there will definitely be an increase in toll rates,” Samy Vellu said. “The government cannot afford to compensate concession holders every year. We pay between RM150 million and RM200 million yearly just so that the public would not be burdened.”
He pointed out that the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong concession holder alone was paid RM76 million after the government decided to reduce the toll rate from RM1.50 to RM1. [...]
If we use the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP) agreement as an example, there are a number of key irrefutable facts:-
Fact 1. The price of using the toll (called ‘Agreed Toll’), is outlined in the agreement between the government and the concessionaire, in this case, as outlined in Appendix 10 and 11, which includes the scheduled increments.
Fact 2. If the price falls below the Agreed Toll rate, the government has to compensate.
Fact 3. However, the concessionaire can reduce the level of toll below the Agreed Toll at any time. (page 48, Section 16.5)
Fact 4. If the actual income is more than the projected revenue, the concessionaire is required to reimburse the difference to the government.
Fact 5. The government can cancel the agreement with just compensation.
Now uncover the lies.
With regards to the LDP, Samy is correct in saying, back in Sept 2005, that there will be no toll increases. But that’s only half the truth.
His exaggerated claims of not being pressured is a charade, since he knows full well the scheduled Agreed Toll increase for the LDP is set on Jan 1, 2007, from RM 1.50 to RM. 2.10 (for Class 1 vehicles i.e. cars).
In November, Samy says, “The government has decided to discontinue the subsidies given to the concession holders from Jan 1.”.
In the case of the LDP, this is far removed from the truth. The announced new toll price is RM 1.60, up 60 cents, but the Agreed Toll rate is RM 2.10. The government is still subsidizing the LDP, at the pre-increase rate.
Lest we forget, One can’t be too sure of how many more frames are missing in this big picture. This is just a snippet of how much the government isn’t telling you about ONE toll (LDP), and lest we forget, reporters have been duly advised to downplay this issue.
One former Works Ministry staff said this to me over lunch last week, “Don’t feel sorry for the toll concessionaires; they’ve recouped their costs and it’s pure profit for the next couple of decades.”
So, if you want to protest, below are some dates. If you want to know more about the charades behind the tolls, go to the Public Meeting on Wednesday night.
Dec 27 – Public Meeting on Toll hike at Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, 8 pm
Dec 29 – MCA Puchong to protest at the LDP
Dec 31 – DAP to protest at the Grand Saga toll plaza, Cheras Highway
Jan 07 – Mega protest of DAP, PKR, PAS and NGOs at the LDP
And because we love writing emails:
1. Guthrie Corridor Expressway: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. KESAS Hotline: email@example.com
3. LDP Hotline: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. S. Samy Vellu, Ministry of Works, email@example.com
5. Dato’ Syed Jamal bin Syed Jaafar, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Works, SyedJamal@kkr.gov.my
6. Malaysia Highway Authority (Lembaga Lebuhraya Malaysia), firstname.lastname@example.org