Sunday, 13 May 2012

100 rally to end 'ridiculous' Federal Highway toll

Highway toll issues have resurfaced again as over 100 Pakatan Rakyat supporters today staged a protest at the two Shah Alam Federal Highway toll plazas to demand their immediate dismantling.

Holding up Pakatan parties’ flags and displaying banners such as ‘Scrap Batu 3 toll’, ’Rakyat pay for expensive concessions’, one group arrived at the two sides of the Batu Tiga toll plaza at around 2pm.

Shah Alam toll protest Shah Alam MP Khalid SamadAccording to the organisers, another 50 were also concurrently rallying at the Sg Rasah toll plaza at the other end of the toll section of the highway.

Shah Alam parliamentarian Khalid Samad (left) who attended the protest, called the Federal Highway the "most ridiculous one in the country”.

He said the major artery connecting Kuala Lumpur to Klang through Selangor capital Shah Alam, had long existed since the 1950s and the current concessionaire had merely upgraded it from two lanes to six.

"The toll system began in 1992. After 20 years in use and making tens of thousands of ringgit a day,  shouldn't they abolish the toll now?" he told reporters.

Government's responsibility

By 3pm, the crowd has increased to 300 on both sides of the Batu Tiga plaza.

Khalid stressed that it was the government responsibility to provide basic infrastructure to the rakyat and not commercialise it for cronies.

"The toll plaza has become the cause of traffic congestion, especially after the concessionaire recently reduced the number of cash booths," he said.

Selangor AMK secretary Mohd Rezwan Alias revealed that the concessionaire Project Lebuhraya Utara Selatan Expressway Berhad (Plus), only spent RM357 million to widen and upgrade the roads in 1992.

NONECiting a motion moved by the then Klang parliamentarian MP Fong Kui Lun (right) in the Parliament in 1993, he said that Plus should had gotten back its investment within three years.

"He was trying to move a motion to urge the government to abolish the toll but it was shot down by the then speaker Mohamed Zajir without being given any reason," he said.

He therefore slammed some 200 Umno members for holding an anti-toll protest at the Sg Rasah toll plaza yesterday.

"They were insincere. If they really want to scrap the toll, it would had been abolished in 1993," he said.

Also attending the rally was Batu Tiga assemblywoman Rodziah Ismail, who urged the government to review the concession as they had done elsewhere.

"If they can do it in Taman Medan, and Cheras, why not here?" she said.

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