Friday, April 25, 2008

Be prepared to pay - The Star

April 25, 2008 By DHARMENDER SINGH

THE Selangor government will have to ensure that highway concessionaire Grand Saga Sdn Bhd is paid RM200mil in compensation if it allows the access road in Bandar Mahkota Cheras, Kajang to be opened.

Former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo said when the road was first opened in 2005 the concessionaire had asked for RM200mil in compensation for loss of toll collection based on the formula in the concession agreement.

“That is why we decided that the toll-free access road should be closed as it would be unfair to use taxpayers money to pay such a huge sum,” he said at a press conference.

He said the state had asked the developer, Narajaya Sdn Bhd to pay the sum but the company too found the figure too high.

The current state government, he said, had however promised to open the access road recently but it should not use public funds as it was unfair to the rest of the taxpayers in the state who would not benefit from it.

Dr Khir, who is also the Opposition Leader, also called on the state government to ensure that it kept its promise to offer the first 20 cubic metre of water free to consumers by June 1.

He said the offer would cost water distribution concessionaire Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) RM17mil a month.

“We do not want to see problems inthe implementation as people are eagerly waiting for the free water that was listed as part of their (Pakatan Rakyat’s) election promises,” he said, adding that changes also needed to be made to the billing system.

He said the state government had initially said it would provide free water by April but then postponed it to June 1.

Dr Khir also asked the state government to deliver on its promise during the General Election to give the people a 20% discount on assessment charges on homes and 10% for commercial properties.

He said annual assessment collection in the state stood at RM889mil and providing the discounts would reduce the government’s revenue by RM170mil per year but the pledge to lessen the people’s burden with the discount should be kept by the current government.

“I have also had many come up to my service centre to enquire where and how to apply for the RM1,000 aid that they (Pakatan Rakyat) promised to give each Selangor born university student during the election campaign,” he said.

He said the new intake for students at local universities was in July and people wanted to know the procedures involved in getting the aid.

On the integrated high-tech pig-rearing farm in Ladang Tumbuk, Dr Khir said, the state government should hold a public hearing to get the opinions of nearby villagers and pig rearers before carrying out the project.

He said the Barisan Nasional assemblymen would lend its support too if the government got at least two-thirds of the people and farmers to agree.

“Although it was proposed during our time, it is being implemented under the Pakatan Rakyat government and they need to convince the people it is for in their own good before they go on,” he said.

He said Barisan assemblymen would conduct a public hearing on the matter if the state government failed.

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