BUTTERWORTH: It has been 12 years since DAP promised to abolish the Sungai Nyior toll collection.
The Bagan MCA division organised a protest on Sunday (May 5) with neighbouring residents to air their frustration at the Penang government's failure to abolish the toll.
Penang MCA vice-chairman Dr Tan Chuan Hong said back in 2007, Lim Guan Eng with Phee Boon Poh and Lim Hock Seng held a press conference promising that the toll would be abolished if they won the Bagan parliamentary seat and its three state seats in the 2008 General Election.
"Guan Eng won the Bagan parliamentary seat, while Hock Seng won the Bagan Jermal seat and Phee won the Sungai Puyu seat.
"Again, in 2018 they made the same promises before the general election with the condition that if they took over Putrajaya it would be abolished.
"It has been 12 years since they first made the promise," he said during a press conference held near the Sungai Nyior toll plaza.
Dr Tan said that when he criticised Guan Eng and Hock Seng in 2017, over the matter, they said they did not have the power to abolish the toll because they were not the federal government.
"Now they are the federal government, we would like to know why this has not been implemented," he said.
Businessman Sim Bak Seong, 56, who lives near the toll plaza said it was a costly affair for him to travel to work in Seberang Prai everyday.
"My office is not far away but to exit my house I have to pay a toll to head there.
"I find it ridiculous and costly as even if I want to visit the supermarket which is five minutes away from home, I have to pay RM1.20.
"The issue would not have been a big deal had they not promised to have the tolls abolished.
"We did not approach them and ask them to abolish it, they came forward and made these promises.
"I do not see the need for this toll as there are other tolls further down," said the former state PKR treasurer between 2005 and 2007.
Air conditioning technician Ong Chong Meng, 31, who also lives nearby, said he spends about RM100 on the Sungai Nyior toll each month.
"My work is such that I am based at home and go out when I get calls for work, which could be four times a day.
"Every time I exit my house it costs money. If you add it all up, I spend about RM1,200 a year on this toll.
"I could buy a television with that money or spend more money on my children.
"I really do feel the pinch and wished they kept their promise of abolishing the toll," he said.
The Sungai Nyior toll plaza has been the subject of heated debate between the state government and the opposition in the past.
It was reported that in 2008, after the 12th General Election, Guan Eng said he would apply to the federal government to abolish the toll within five years.
But to date, toll is still being collected.
Hock Seng, who was the then State Works, Utilities and Transportation Committee chairman, was also quoted as saying that the state government had no power to abolish the toll as the concession was given out by the previous federal government.
He said they had opened up a new road as an alternative for the public to avoid using the toll plaza.