|Toll Increase Based On Representations From Concessionaries, Says Abdullah
PUTRAJAYA, Jan 9 (Bernama) -- The decision to allow the recent toll increase was based on representations by the concessionaires on their toll collection, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Tuesday.
"And what they proved to us, to the government, was that the toll had to be increased," the prime minister told a news conference after performing the ground-breaking ceremony for the National Cancer Institute next to the Putrajaya Hospital.
Asked whether details of the toll collection to date should be released to the public, he said: "All are public limited companies."
Abdullah said that the projections of future traffic volume were made when the concessions were negotiated and the present-day conditions had to be taken into account.
"We cannot deny them that. And if today, the situation warrants that we take action to raise the toll, we have to do it. Otherwise, we'll have to subsidise some more. How much more can we subsidise, how can we subsidise everything" he said.
Effective Jan 1, the toll rates for five highways in the Klang Valley -- Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP), Shah Alam Expressway, Cheras-Kajang Highway, KL-Karak Highway and the Guthrie Corridor Expressway -- were increased by between 30 sen and RM1.
Abdullah said the subsidy that the government had to bear was not small and it could not continue to subsidise solely to avoid a toll increase.
Asked about claims by an opposition party that it had a copy of an agreement between the government and one of the highway concessionaires, he said the government could take action if the document was classified under the Official Secrets Act.
On the Barisan Nasional's candidate for the Batu Talam state by-election in Pahang, Abdullah, who is also the BN chairman, said the coalition wanted someone who could serve the people.
He said that when he received the BN candidate list, he would discuss the matter with the Pahang Umno liaison body before announcing the candidate.
Nominations have been fixed for Jan 16 and polling on Jan 28 in the event of a contest.