SIBU: DAP Sarawak has initiated a signature campaign which calls for the state government to abolish the collection of toll at the Lanang Bridge.
The party said the toll collection did not only burden the people but also hampered economic growth in the region, which includes Sibu, Meradong and Sarikei.
Party president Chong Chieng Jen told reporters after launching the signature campaign yesterday that the contractor for the bridge, Woodville Sdn Bhd, had earned exorbitantly at the expense of the people by collecting tolls since 2006.
“Until now based on the answer that we got at the State Legislative assembly sitting and also based on the company’s report, from 2006 to 2014, it had collected RM100mil from the people who used the bridge,” he said.
“As the toll collection is for a period of 30 years, we projected that it will collect up to RM500mil. This is too much as it is not only burdening the people but also hampering economic growth in this region,” he added.
Chong said the company had already being paid in kind by the government when it constructed the bridge in 2004.
The company, he revealed, was awarded RM180mil to build the bridge and that the awarding of the contract was done without going through the open tender system.
“Together with the RM180mil, it was also paid in kind by the government who gave them a few thousands acres of land. The Asean Bridge in Miri was also done without the open tender. That contractor was awarded RM178mil to build the bridge which cost only RM90mil as the Inland Revenue Board had taxed it for differently in construction costs. So we believe that the Lanang Bridge cost less than RM90mil to build,” he said.
The party, he said, hoped to get 20,000 signatures before April 15 when the matter would be brought up to the State Legislative Assembly.
Chong regretted that SUPP and UPP were trying to pour water on them over the campaign so that it would fail.
“I call on them that if they dare not fight for the people’s right, the least they should not sabotage the people’s fight,” he said.
The toll at the Lanang Bridge is RM3 for cars, 50 sen for motorcycles, RM8 for mini-buses and small lorries and RM15 for heavy vehicles.