PETALING JAYA: The government should consult the rakyat first before making any decision that could affect them, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic) on the proposed abolishment of tolls for highways.
"The most important is consultation with the people," he said, adding that when the Barisan Nasional administration abolished tolls for four highways, the toll plazas were demolished and no one collected any money anymore.
The MCA president also cited Singapore as an example in addressing traffic congestion.
"We should learn from Singapore, where thorough research was conducted to determine zones such as the Central Business District (CBD), Restricted Zone (RZ) and the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP), which was not done in a rushed manner," he said in a statement on Sunday (Feb 24).
Dr Wee questioned if the government's proposed abolishment of tolls for highways was just a rebranding exercise.
"No tolls but there are congestion charges? The rakyat still has to pay," he said.
He asked when did the government propose replacing tolls with congestion charges, and whether there were scientific studies conducted by the Public Works Department (JKR) or the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM).
"Now what is the formula to abolish tolls by Pakatan Harapan. A real twist. Go to work in heavy traffic and you will pay tolls or charges. Return home after getting drunk, you don't pay anything," he said.
In a statement on Saturday (Feb 23), the government said it had begun talks with Gamuda Bhd to negotiate the acquisition of highway concession for four main highways as part of its promise to abolish tolls in stages.
The four highways are Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (SPRINT), Lebuhraya Shah Alam (Kesas) and SMART Tunnel.
However, a "congestion charge" will be introduced, equivalent to the existing toll for six hours of "peak" period a day.
During "off peak" periods between 11pm and 5am, highway users can travel for free.