(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Coalition Against Toll (CAT) at its second meeting in Petaling Jaya last evening calls on Malaysians to protest peacefully at the 100 toll plazas nation-wide on Sunday morning to show their seriousness in wanting the government to review unfair highway privatisation concessions and unfair toll rates.
This will be the second nation-wide peaceful protests by the people at the nationís toll plazas against unfair highway privatisation concessions and unfair tolls, the first being held at over 20 toll plazas last Sunday.
The Coalition Against Toll meeting yesterday was attended by representatives from political parties and NGOs, including PAS, Parti Rakyat Malaysia, DAP, DAPSY, Wanita DAP, ADIL, ABIM, Perak Consumersí Association, Selangor Consumersí Association, Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth.
The Coalition Against Toll reviewed last Sundayís first nation-wide
toll plazas protest and urges all protestors to be at all times peaceful
and civil, avoiding personal or character attacks against anyone in their
placards, posters or utterances, and to remain united in their support
for the CATís demand for "Five Nos and Two Yes", namely:
Yes to Justice for Motorists
Yes to Justice For ALL
The CAT at its meeting yesterday also decided that the second nation-wide toll plazas protest on Sunday would focus on one of the greatest injustices of the highway privatisation programme, the continued collection of the 50-sen toll at the Jalan Kuching toll plaza by Kamunting Corporation Bhd for more than three years although its nine-year concession had expired on January 8, 1996.
The protest against the unfair Jalan Kuching toll collection after its expiry in January 1996 will be held on Sunday at 9 a.m.. This is the time for all motorists who feel strongly about the injustice of having to pay 50 sen toll for over three years after the expiry of the concession in January 1996 to demand that Jalan Kuching should become toll free, especially as there had been no upgrading of roadworks whatsoever in the past three years.
On 29th April 1996, Malaysians were shocked to read in the local press that Kamunting Corporation Bhd had been given permission by the Cabinet to continue to collect toll at Jalan Kuching for another six months although the concession ended on January 8 of the same year.
The Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said that Kamunting Corporation Bhd might be granted a further extension to collect toll when the six-month extension ended on July 7, 1996 pending the consideration of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the Prime Ministerís Department on the future of Jalan Kuching.
In July 1996, Samy Vellu announced that the Cabinet had on July 3, 1996 approved a 33-year concession to Syarikat Prestige that will entitle it to collect RM1 toll at Jalan Kuching when it completes a RM650 million underpass and road upgrading project.
Samy Vellu said the RM650 million project also involved the setting up of another toll collection centre at Jalan Semantan, where motorists would have to pay either RM1.30 or RM1.60 to enter the city.
The road upgrading works for Jalan Kuching included adding two lanes to the existing four, constructing a tiered flyover over the Jalan Kuching and Jalan Segambut roundabout, and widening the two lanes on Jalan Ipoh. The underpass would connect the Jalan Semantan/Jalan Damansara interchange to the Jalan Ismail junction (Wisma Sime Darby area) via Wisma Tani, while another underpass would be built from Jalan Raja Muda to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman to connect with the underpass at the Jalan Sultan Ismail junction.
Gerakan, MCA and UMNO Ministers should speak up in Cabinet to demand a stop to the 50-sen toll collection at Jalan Kuching toll plaza as no work has been done in the past three years in the extension of the concession in exchange of the RM650 million underpass and road upgrading project.
In fact, motorists are incensed that they are forced to continue to pay toll at Jalan Kuching for more than three years when the nine-year concession of Kamunting Corporation had ended on January 8, 1996 and they have been not been convinced that this is fair, just, proper and completely above-board.