Media Statement by Johor DAP Publicity Secretary and Senai State Assemblyperson Wong Shu Qi on 14th October 2015 (Wednesday):
Senai-Desaru Expressway toll rate hike is totally unjustifiable with its worsening road condition and poor maintenance.
The toll hike for 15 expressways across Peninsular Malaysia is shocking news to all motorists, especially since Prime Minister Najib Razak had promised just before the 13th general election that the toll rates will be gradually reduced. Thus, he has once again broken his promise to people.
Among the complainants against toll hike, Johoreans, who are Senai-Desaru Expressway (SDE) users, are the most appalled. The increment for SDE is totally unjustifiable given its service standard.
First, the SDE can hardly be seen as an expressway as some parts of the SDE have only two lanes.
In addition, the SDE is infamous for its bad road condition. Potholes are not new to SDE users since the day one. Both users and local elected representatives whose constituencies are located along the expressway have on numerous occasions criticised the authority on the bad road condition, even in the state assembly. Yet, no major improvement has been done.
The Senai-Desaru Expressway connects the East Coast of Johor with Senai where the Johor Bahru International Airport is located. It caters to huge number of tourists and investors including those who are interested in the Pengerang area developments. While the unjustifiable 20% SDE toll rate hike may not be the main cause of a dampened market in Pengerang, the poor road condition is indeed a laughing stock for non-Johoreans.
With the worsening road conditions and poor maintenance, it is thus questionable how the cabinet can allow the toll hike. It is an unreasonable and unjustifiable decision to all users of the expressway.
DAP has been calling for the declassification of all expressway concessionaire agreements since the first expressway concessionaire was awarded. Johoreans are now entitled to know what are the terms and conditions written in the SDE concessionaire agreement. If an expressway in such a substandard condition is allowed to have a toll rate hike, we can foresee that the rakyat will be burdened by more unfair agreements made by the UMNO/BN government.
Wong Shu Qi