Toll

With the increase in toll rates starting today, several groups are urging for the contracts/deals with toll concessionaires to be reviewed, according to The Star. It was reported that the government previously paid compensation to concessionaires to delay the hikes, which are stipulated in the concession agreements.

Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM), however, urged that the method in which the deals work should be reviewed. “The current practice of paying compensation or extending the concession period for highway concessionaires every few years is not a feasible solution to the issue of toll rates,” said ACCCIM president Datuk Ter Leong Yap.

Tan Sri Pheng Yin Huah, president of the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Hua Zong) said that the concession agreements should be more transparent, despite the explanation that it was increased accordingly with the agreement.

Yap also asked that the government “scrutinise” the total amount of money collected by concessionaires over the years, due to the increased number of vehicles which have passed through the tolls throughout these years. Previously, complaints include the limited availability of alternative routes and motorists having to deal with traffic jams, despite paying tolls.

Karak-highway

Echoing this sentiment, Yap said, “we pay for free-flowing traffic, and as such there must always be alternative non-toll routes available.” In that, he lamented that such routes were either unavailable or unrealistic. Furthermore, he stressed that the cost of doing business has been going up over the years and only made worse by the gloomy economy as of late.

“The increase in toll rates will affect the public and severely hit the business community,” he said. Previous reports state that increase toll hikes would bring about a chain reaction against the prices of goods – an increase as a result.

Meanwhile, works minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof told Sin Chew Daily that it would be too costly to review the contracts with highway concessionaires, and that the Government had no plans to review the contracts as yet – the latter as it would involve too many parties and complex procedures.

“Reviewing or renegotiating the contracts could involve sky-high figures. This is not fair to those who do not use the highways,” he told the Chinese-language daily.