KUALA LUMPUR, 11 Apr: PAS claimed that Umno-BN has entered into several new highway construction projects which have concealed by them to defuse voter sentiments in the face of the 13th General Elections (GE-13).
PAS Centre of Research Executive Director, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad revealed that the Umno-BN government has almost finalised two agreements for tolled highways even though the projects are yet to be announced.
The two expressways are the Damansara-Shah Alam (DASH) and the South Ulu Kelang. Both are owned by Prolitas, a company one hundred percent owned by Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB).
Another project is the Kinrara-Damansara Highway and the extension of the Duta-Ulu Klang Expressway.
Dr Dzulkefly added that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak only repeated the announcement of not increasing toll prices until 2016.
But he failed to copy Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) offer in handling tolled expressways seeing that they are already accustomed to ‘patronage’ and ‘monopoly’ that has enriched cronies, said Dr Dzulkefly.
“Why is it that after 2016, the toll rates will rise by five percent every three years until year 2037? It is clear that Najib does not have any commitment to lower the people’s cost of living.
“What is even more unfortunate is that Najib’s government aspired to continue the privatisation of highways agenda as a means of constructing highways and to stimulate the construction sector,” he said in a press conference at the PAS General Office.
He explained further that BN proudly placed the West Coast Expressway in their manifesto that would impose a toll.
Although the four percent subsidy has been eliminated after new negotiations were passed, this new project is not competitive and now needs an injection of RM2.2 billion in soft loans with an interest rate of four percent, added Dzulkefly.
In line with the principles of the People’s Manifesto, Pakatan Rakyat remains with their stand to eliminate tolls in stages, starting with highways that have already received returns of capital.