Mohamad Hasan questions concession acquisition move to cut tolls

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 24 Feb 2019

SEMENYIH: Barisan Nasional’s top leadership continue to question the Government’s motives for negotiating the acquisition of four main highway concessions.

Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan (pic) feels the move by the Pakatan Harapan-led Government is just window dressing for the Semenyih by-election but he is more concerned over where it would get the funds.

“We don’t know the bail-out amount and why must it be a private company such as Gamuda Bhd?

“Why not Plus Expressways Bhd, whose stocks are owned by Khazanah and the Employees' Provident Fund? Wouldn’t it be wiser to take over Plus?” he asked.

Mohamad, who was on the campaign trail in Sg Jai for the Semenyih by-election, also questioned why billions of ringgit would be spent to take over tolls instead of helping rural folks, especially when commodity prices are slipping.

He said such conditions were torturous for poor rural folk and helping them should be the main priority.

“Even if the people want to abolish tolls, that should not be a priority. We might as well abolish all tolls. Why only those under Gamuda?” he asked.

He also said that if the Government’s finances were as tight as it claimed, it would have to borrow the funds needed.

Assuming the Government needs up to RM5bil for the move, Mohamad asked why the funds should be used to save Gamuda instead of increasing the amount in the Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) scheme.

“They cut BSH from RM450 when it was known as BR1M to only RM100 because they claimed finances are tight.

“If they are a borrowing funds to help the poor or improve healthcare, I wouldn’t be questioning it but to borrow merely to save Gamuda, that’s not right,” he said.

On Saturday (Feb 23), The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement saying that the Government has begun talks with Gamuda to negotiate the acquisition of highway concessions for four main highways.

The four highways are the Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (SPRINT), Lebuhraya Shah Alam (KESAS) and SMART Tunnel.

In a statement, the Prime Minister's Office said that once the take-over is complete, the Government would eventually abolish the existing toll mechanism.

Pakatan had said in its manifesto during the 14th General Election, Pakatan had promised to take steps to acquire highway concessions and abolish the toll collection in stages according to the terms of the concession agreement.

Separately, Mohamad also said PAS and Umno will form a formal committee to mark their collaboration in uniting the Malays.

“This is not about politics but about the survival of the Malays. It would be better for the two biggest Malay-based parties to unite for this purpose,” he said.

He said the committee would be chaired by himself as well as PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.

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