Put Kidex highway project on hold now, DAP tells Selangor

DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua said it would be reckless for the government to commit to a RM2.42 billion highway project without first determining how much it would burden Malaysians. — File pic
DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua said it would be reckless for the government to commit to a RM2.42 billion highway project without first determining how much it would burden Malaysians. — File pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — DAP called on the Selangor government today to suspend all approvals related to the controversial super-elevated Kinrara-Damansara (Kidex) highway, after deciding that Putrajaya has been deliberately withholding details on the RM2.42 billion project from the public.

In a statement here, DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua questioned Putrajaya's alleged “refusal” yesterday to disclose the projected investment returns for concession-holder Kidex Sdn Bhd, and how heavy a burden the highway would impose on motorists.

He asked the reason why Works Minister Datuk Fadhillah Yusof would not state the proposed toll rates for the highway and instead said it was “yet to be determined” when it has been common practice for the government determine such details before any concession agreement is signed.

“I have had the benefit of browsing through all privatised highway toll concession agreement in January 2009 when the government decided to declassify these agreements for a period of three weeks,” Pua said.

“All of these agreements from the LDP to PLUS to the Penang Bridge, were signed not only with the toll rates fixed, even the formula for the periodic increase in toll rates based on the volume of traffic were specifically cast in stone in these contracts.

“Hence I am convinced that the Federal Government is lying when claiming that no toll rates have been fixed in the concession agreement,” he said.

In a written Parliamentary reply to DAP's Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo yesterday, Fadhillah said the government has signed a 48-year concession agreement with Kidex Sdn Bhd.

To a question from the DAP lawmaker on the highway's toll rate, however, the minister said it was too soon to disclose such information.

Pua said Fadhillah, by withholding the information, was either a “complete fool” to sign a 48-year agreement without an idea of how much toll will be charged and collected, or is lying to Parliament.

He said it would be reckless for the government to commit to a RM2.42 billion highway project without first determining how much it would burden Malaysians.

“Once the highway is completed, the government will be held at ransom by the concessionaire and will as a result, be in a weaker negotiating position to demand lower toll rates.

“This is akin to making a contractual commitment to a house purchase from a developer at a project launch with the price to be decided only 3 years later after the project has been completed,” he said.

As such, Pua said it is more likely that Putrajaya is conniving with the concessionaire to hide information from the public to ensure reduced opposition to the project.

“Hence on this basis alone — the refusal by the Federal Government to be transparent with the projected investment returns for the concessionaire and the burden to be carried by the commuters — we call upon the Selangor statement government to suspend all approvals and decision-making processes required for the highway to be constructed in Selangor,” he said.

The Kidex project has been rejected on three occasions by the city council as developers had failed to provide sufficient details.

Under Section 18 of the Town Country and Planning Act (TCPA), construction cannot start unless the highway fits with MBPJ’s plans.

Kidex is currently not incorporated into the council’s blueprint for Petaling Jaya city.

Despite the growing opposition, mounting evidence in the form of replies in Parliament and the state legislative assembly indicate that the project is set to proceed.

Among the areas that could be affected by the project are Tropicana Mall, SS2 Mall, Rothman’s traffic lights, Section 14, Amcorp Mall, Hilton Petaling Jaya, Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital, Jalan Templer roundabout, Taman Datuk Harun, Taman Medan Baru and Bandar Kinrara.

Construction of the multi-billion ringgit highway could begin as soon as next year and be completed by 2018.

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