Media Statement by Johor DAP Policy Director and Senai State Assemblyperson Wong Shu Qi on 13th September 2014 (Saturday):
Are Najib and his Cabinet trying to attract investors or destroy Iskandar Malaysia in its latest toll hike competition with Singapore?
After the latest toll hike announcement made by the Singaporean authorities, we have no doubt that Iskandar Malaysia will be the first victim of the unhealthy toll hike competition between the Malaysian and Singaporean governments.
First things first, we must distinguish between the EDL toll hike and the VEP hike. The toll hikes adversely affect all vehicle users regardless where they are coming from and heading, while the VEP fee is imposed on foreign vehicles only.
However, the Malaysian Highway Authority announced the EDL toll hike only after Singaporean authorities announced the VEP hike, which affects Malaysian vehicles only. The EDL toll hike affects all users except motorcyclists, which has caused the people to suspect that the EDL toll hike is actually a retaliatory move against Singapore.
Even if it is not a retaliatory move, it is unusual that the EDL toll hike was announced just a few days before it was implemented. As a lawmaker, I am surprised that the issue was not discussed or raised in a bilateral meeting between both countries.
On its part, the Singaporean authorities must also be held responsible for its latest toll hike, which has affected the bilateral relationship with Malaysia as the move has been perceived as provocation.
Secondly, the BN Government must disclose the EDL concession agreement as soon as possible as all these problems are a direct result of the contract’s terms and its unreasonable toll charges. It’s simply unreasonable that the agreement is still protected under the Official Secrets Act when public interest is at risk and being jeopardized.
On top of that, we the people are deeply disappointed with the irresponsible attitude exhibited by the Najib-led government, in that it has not identified any alternatives for commuters who drive their own vehicles. The government has not increased train services at peak hours nor opened up the Causeway for pedestrians. Malaysia’s current toll hike competition with Singapore is literally ‘killing’ people as many will resort to riding motorbikes in order to save money, and this will add to the already high number of motorcyclist deaths in our country. Presently, the motorcyclist death toll on our roads is three times higher than of any other vehicle users.
Therefore, I call upon the Malaysian Government’s delegates led by Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid to sit down and discuss the issue immediately with their Singaporean counterparts.
Wong Shu Qi