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Tol : Kelulusan kabinet untuk keluar statistik trafik, Samy

Samy: Toll collectors can only release info with Cabinet approval

NEW DELHI (Jan 9, 2007): The Cabinet has to give the green light for highway concessionaires to reveal details of toll collection and the volume of traffic using their highways, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said today.

"I will bring it up to the Cabinet on whether we can allow highway concessionaires to release these figures. If the cabinet agrees, then we will ask the companies involved to come out with the details," Bernama reported him as saying.

He was speaking to reporters after presenting a paper on the final day of the three-day 5th Pravasi Bharativa Divas, a congregation of people of Indian origin living abroad.

Samy Vellu, who is leading a 120-member Malaysian delegation to the annual conference, dubbed the Indian Diaspora Conference, was asked to comment on former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's call yesterday for highway concessionaires to reveal their toll collection to address the people's dissatisfaction over the recent toll hikes.

The government had allowed five concessionaires in and around the Klang Valley to increase their toll rates from 30% to 70% starting Jan 1.

Since then, there has been mounting pressure from several quarters, mainly opposition parties and non-governmental organisations, on the government to review the increase.

In PUTRAJAYA, R.Manirajan reports that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi continued to defend the recent toll increase, adding that the government could not continue compensating highway concessionaires.

Abdullah said when negotiations on the concession agreements were going on, a study was done on the traffic volume annually by the respective companies and the findings were presented for discussion and approval.

"All this was done last time. What is happening now is something that needs to be taken into account, including paying subsidies, compensation and increasing the toll rate. We cannot continue subsidising with no toll increase," he said, when asked if the government might consider reviewing the toll concession agreements.

He was speaking to reporters at the groundbreaking of the new National Cancer Institute here.

When told that highway concesssionaire Litrak (Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong) reported in its 2006 annual report a RM80 million profit and why there was a need for the government to still compensate the company, Abdullah said: "We had a lot of discussion on this. We did what we felt was right. If you (reporter) have more information on what you just said, please let us know." theSun

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