No govt expenditure to acquire four highways, MCA not buying it

No govt expenditure to acquire four highways, MCA not buying it

KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng told the Dewan Rakyat today that the takeover of four highways — Lebuhraya Damansara-Puching (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (Sprint), Lebuhraya Shah Alam (Kesas) and Smart Tunnel (Smart) – will cost RM6.2 billion and done via the issuance of bonds.

He said: “The recommended collection of congestion charges will be sufficient for bond repayment and to cover highway operation and maintenance costs, without needing an allocation from the Finance Ministry.”

He said this in response to a question from Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) during Ministers Question Time.

Wee meanwhile took Lim to task for not giving a proper answer to the questions he raised.

“I asked how it would help the people. He (Lim) replied that RM6.2 billion for the concessionaire companies would derived from bonds. The people will have to pay for the bonds.

He also saw red over Pakatan Harapan government’s promise to have toll free highways.

“They promise toll free. Now they are rebranding congestion fees even after concession period ended. From toll free it is now toll forever.”

“People will have to make perpetual payment due to congestion fee. The government has not even justified why they introduced congestion fees.”

Wee also revealed that of the four highways, only LDP recorded profits.

“Why take over Sprint, Kesas and Smart tunnel that recorded losses due to reduction in the number of vehicles using those highways?”

He also took his shot at Tony Pua (PH-Damansara) who is also Lim’s political secretary at the Finance Ministry.

“Why not take over Maju Expressway (MEX) which Pua talked about in a video clip?

He claimed RM300 million was sufficient to take over the LDP instead of the RM6.2 billion that the government announced.

By K Pragalath