[NST] MP: Buy back highway

8 01 2009

~ By David Yeow and Noel Achariam

Serdang member of parliament and Teo Nie Ching and Petaling Jaya Utara member of parliament Tony Pua reviewing the PLUS highway toll concession agreement at the Works Ministry library.

KUALA LUMPUR: Petaling Jaya Utara member of parliament Tony Pua yesterday urged the government to seriously consider buying back the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong from Lingkaran Trans Kota Sdn Bhd.

Pua, who visited the Works Ministry library to study the declassified toll concession agreement, said that it was more profitable for the government and less burdensome for the public if the LDP was expropriated.

After studying the agreement, he found that the construction cost of the LDP was RM1.327 billion, while the projected profit amounted to RM18.86 billion when the concession expired in 2028. On top of that, Pua said that the government had been shelling out RM630 million as compensation since 1993 to keep the highway affordable.

“Doing the maths, it is more viable for the government to reacquire the highway,” he said, adding that there was a clause which allowed the government to buy back the LDP by giving the concessionaire three months’ notice. “According to the agreement, the government will have to compensate the value of construction work and pay the outstanding amount due to shareholders at a rate of 12 per cent per annum.”

He was accompanied by Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching and Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San. Pua said the government would have to fork out RM1.5 billion to take over the LDP.

“That’s a reasonable amount, compared with compensation of RM630 million up to last year.”

The government was spending RM75 million a year on compensation.

Pua suggested the government either made the LDP free or lowered the toll rates.

Article taken from The New Straits Times.



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