Tuesday, February 27, 2007

SAMY VELLU– BN Fix It & Front Man Resents being labeled a “Blood Thirsty Dracula” Wanting to Jail 4 under OSA; His Lies, Half-Truths Spin after Spin

RM2 Toll through 3.8km motorway tunnel?

SAMY VELLU (the BAD BOY) Annoyed at Disclosure & Allegations Shouted:“GO TO HELL” to PKR For Revealing the RM2 Smart STORM TUNNEL Toll Charge & SUBSEQUENT Increases; OBSCENE PROFITS & alleged discrepancies in the Project

Samy, there is no need to behave like this as a Minister, only a “BAD Boy” would make such remarks. What is there for the government to decide? His last statement, Feb 11 07 on this toll rate:

"It has not been decided yet as my ministry has to put up a paper to the cabinet. Also, I've to talk to the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister's Department before I make any disclosure on the rates,"

Why this play acting and the red tape of putting up a paper?

Even if you charge RM1; the concessionaire Syarikat Konsesi Smart Sdn Bhd will still be compensated for the difference as stated in the agreement. And after all he has also revealed in the NST interview that all the 21 toll agreements would be declassify. The PKR is just kind enough to inform the public and get them prepare for the “extortion”.

Of course, the public will be given a month long “toll free” period to taste the shortened journey before the toll is actually implemented. And Samy is spinning again when he frightens the public that in lieu of the toll, motorist would take “90 minutes” to reach the city centre. In ALL previous propaganda, the time is ONLY 30 minutes. Samy get the facts right!

the route would shorten travel time to the city centre from Sungai Besi from 30 minutes to merely five minutes”

his last statement dated 29 Jan 07 (Bernama ) see H E R E on the SMART Tunnel

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Samy Lashes Out At Parti Keadilan Rakyat; General; March 01, 2007 15:13 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 (Bernama) -- Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu Thursday came out guns blazing at Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) for speculating the toll rate of the newly completed Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (Smart) project. "I congratulate them (PKR), they can set up an information centre on tolls and they can make announcements on toll rates, let them make the announcements. "The government has yet to finalise the toll rate for the Smart tunnel," he told reporters after launching MIC's national training and employment portal and series of seminars at the party headquarters here. Samy Vellu, who is also MIC president, was asked to comment on a report in an internet-based news website yesterday which quoted a PKR leader as saying, among other things, the toll for the tunnel would be RM2.

The leader also revealed certain figures, like the estimated income from the toll, and the subsequent increase of the toll rates in the future. "They (PKR) don't understand that to construct a 4-km tunnel like this cost RM600 million while to construct a 4-km road is only RM45 million," Samy Vellu added. The Smart project, costing more than RM2 billion, would connect Sungai Besi and the federal capital via a tunnel, which could also be used to flow flood water from the city centre to the outskirts. It is expected to be opened to traffic in two weeks.

"It is not mandatory for cars to use the tunnel...if you don't want to use it then you can opt for the untolled road but that would take you 90 minutes to reach your destination. Asked about the threat by certain quarters that they would lodge police reports against the Minister for alleged discrepancies in the project, including the toll fare, Samy Vellu said:" They can go to hell". "I can also make a police report saying that they are trying to pressurise me into making public the toll rate, which has yet to be announced...that they are doing this by not following the government rules and regulations," he added.

= = == and read the STAR for a guffaw on "from 90 minutes to three minutes". This is a classical case of an editor knowing not what he is editing. The 3 minutes is the time perhaps to travel through the “2-deck motorway tunnel” of 3.8 km but this will be over speeding as the prescribed speed is 60 kmh. The correct time is “, cutting travelling time from half-an-hour to five minutes” as given in the lower part of the STAR’s report.

ABOVE: Opening End of March 07, Speed limit 60kmh

Many are still confused about this tunnel. The 11.5km long 13.2m diameter tunnel will divert flood waters away from the confluence of the two rivers running through central Kuala Lumpur while its middle 3.8 km section will double up as a two-deck motorway to relieve traffic congestion at the main southern gateway into the city centre.

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Friday March 2, 2007; Smart toll not decided yet; from STAR

KUALA LUMPUR: A decision has yet to be made on the new toll rate for the RM1.9bil Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (Smart) from Sungai Besi to Kuala Lumpur, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said. Commenting on Parti Keadilan Rakyat's claim that motorists would have to pay RM2 to use the road, he said yesterday that a road through a tunnel was far more expensive than laying a road on the surface. “The people do not understand that it costs RM600mil to construct four kilometres of the tunnel while the cost for four kilometres of surface road costs only RM45mil. There is a great difference,” he told reporters after launching the MIC national training and employment portal and seminars here yesterday.

ABOVE: Star's pic; Get your facts correct Samy; stop exaggerating; 60 min to 5 mins more reasonable

Samy: ‘Travelling time cut from 90 minutes to three minutes’ He said the tunnel was constructed at a very strategic position and those who did not wish to use it could use other roads for free. Samy Vellu said motorists who use the tunnel would be able to get to the other side within three minutes while those who did not wish to pay toll would have to spend 90 minutes on the road.

The RM1.9bil project is aimed at channelling flood waters from the Klang River away from the city centre, and is an alternative route to the city centre for some 200,000 road users on the Sungai Besi highway, cutting travelling time from half-an-hour to five minutes. Three routes link to the motorway – Jalan Sungai Besi (beside the RMAF base), Jalan Sultan Ismail (beside Berjaya Times Square) and Jalan Tun Razak (in front of the RHB building).

[…]
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UPDATE: Feb 28 2007

SAMY VELLU (the BAD BOY) Challenged to BARE ALL in BORR ProjectAnyone seen a Highway with 4 Traffic Lights and a Gazzetted Name Jalan Heng Choon Thean?; LDP SECRET Agreement Already out 1996; Projected RM19b Profit -15 Times Cost

MSIAKini LETTERS: Samy, you're indeed a 'bad boy'; Lim Guan Eng ; DAP secretary-general.; Feb 27, 07 3:43pm
I would like to call upon Works Minister S Samy Vellu to give a detailed breakdown on the expenditure of the RM700 million Butterworth Outer Ring Road (Borr) project and explain the difference between the original price of RM410 million in 1998 and the increase of RM290 million. In 1998, the DAP MP for Bagan Lim Hock Seng was told in Parliament that the cost of the Borr project was RM410 million. Now eight years later, the cost has risen by 71% to RM700 million and the public has a right to know the reasons for this increase.

In a press interview on Sunday, Samy Vellu denied he was a 'bad boy' and further said: 'Guan Eng does not realise that Borr is a total scheme. The privatisation part is only RM470 million. But the other part was done by the Public Works Department and it cost RM275 million'. There were also other false allegations made by Samy, which I will respond to later. What I wish to focus on now is on the need for Samy to come clean on the Borr project. I wish to remind Samy who once claimed that 'I have got the cleanest hands in the world' that he must not only be clean but he must also be seen to be clean. In the interests or accountability and transparency, he has a responsibility to justify every extra single sen of the RM700 million spent as well the amount of compensation paid by the government to the highway concessionaire for deferring collection of toll at Sungai Nyior toll plaza. Like all concession contracts, the government has to pay a compensation for deferring collection or for reducing toll hikes. Samy's refusal to come clean shows he is a 'bad boy' who is only out to extract toll on behalf of toll concessionaires. Similarly, Samy's refusal to tear down the Sungai Nyior toll plaza along the Borr shows that the deferment of toll collection is only a temporary measure to appease the people and toll will be restored after the BN scores a thumping victory in the coming general elections.

We have pressed the government to not postpone but cancel outright toll collections at the Sungai Nyior toll plaza as it is part of an existing road freely used without any toll being paid by local motorists for the past 10 years. If Samy continues to deny them this and insist that the stretch of road leading to the Sungai Nyior toll plaza is part of the Borr project and not part of the old road, then why are there as many as four traffic lights and even a gazetted road with the name of Jalan Heng Choon Thean? Probably, this is the first highway in Malaysia with traffic lights and the 'highway' even has a road name! I reiterates my challenge to Samy to hold a dialogue with the affected residents to determine who is telling the truth and whether it is justifiable to collect toll. If he wants to come clean and prove that he is not out to suck any person's blood, then he should have the political courage to face DAP and the people of Butterworth.

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Secret' was out 10 years ago

SUN; Pauline Puah Updated: 07:14PM Tue, 27 Feb 2007;

PETALING JAYA (Feb 27, 2007): A highway concessionnaire released details of its classified agreement with the government in its prospectus for institutional investors 10 years ago, it was revealed today. Lingkaran Trans Kota Holdings Bhd (Litrak), the concession holder for the Damansara-Puchong Highway, had in the prospectus given a summary of key terms of the agreement which was classified under the Official Secrets Act. DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who revealed the prospectus in a press conference today, questioned the motive of the government for continuing to insist the agreement was under the OSA. "The prospectus has all the details of the agreement. Works Minister Datuk S. Samy Vellu had said everything discussed in the cabinet is under the OSA. "As such, Litrak, and its two joint global lead managers, Arab-Malaysian Merchant Bank Bhd and Barclays de Zoete Wedd Ltd, should also be investigated by the police as well for revealing the content."

Last month, four opposition leaders - Parti Keadilan Rakyat information chief Tian Chua, treasurer-general Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, PAS treasurer-general Dr Hatta Ramli and DAP non-governmental organization bureau chief Ronnie Liu - were questioned by the police for alleged violation of the OSA by revealing a copy of a concession agreement in a press conference. Samy, who initially lambasted the four for revealing "official secrets", recently said the ministry would reveal the agreement as the premier Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had agreed to it, provided a paper was first tabled to the cabinet. He had said the concession holders had no objections to this. Lim said the government should drop its investigation against the four men and apologise to them for "selective prosecution and double standards".

Lim said the Litrak prospectus revealed the projected profit after tax of the company from 1997 to 2029 to be RM18.9 billion while the total construction cost was estimated at only RM1.327 billion, inclusive of capitalised interest of RM142.3 million. "This is at least 15 times the cost that they put in," he said. He asked whether this was why there was hesitation to make public the agreements. "Samy Vellu should be ashamed of himself for protecting the interest of the company instead of the people by not wanting people to know about the agreement even though it was already public knowledge in 1996," he added.

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A perfect BN & FIX-IT Front Man that can talk in tongues with a” tongue in cheek” sometimes and very difficult BN Man to find and REPLACE A perfect Cover-UP man for ALL the Wrong doings in the Government Infrastructure projects (PROJECT DELAYS & COST OVERRUNS aka Ministry of Works) and ALL the failures of the Cronies who were awarded the projects.

You name it he has fixed it, the Matrade Building scandal; the MMR2 Cracks & Repairs Fiasco, the Tolled Highways & Concession Agreements. In ALL these NOT once he has the interest of the rakyat at heart. It is always ALL the lame excuses he proffered to justify their wrong doings with his “twist & turn” explanations and his changing facts and seeing himself can do and admit to no wrongs but ONLY a Saint all the time. Samy Vellu what have you been doing this lifetime to improve the psychic structure of your Soul?

And what about your physical structure?

This exclusive interview is just another PR exercise to redeem his rotten “bad boy” image which is totally incorrigible and completely demolished by DAP Lim Kit Siang in his entryHow Samy Vellu can transform from Dracula to saint” H E R E after having loosing out in the public argument for his “bloodthirstiness” in wanting the four Opposition“whistleblowers” jailed for at least one year under the OSA. He is one of the few remaining Ministers responsible for the most shameful, undemocratic, repressive, draconian and pernicious pieces of legislation in the land - the 1986 amendment to the Official Secrets Act imposing a mandatory minimum one-year jail sentence on conviction.

Samy, no one is a saint when he is born. When we are born into this world of Maya (illusion), we have to undergo all the procedures of a human being. We have to be ignorant again, we have to suffer all these illusionary desires and then the disappointment of the unfulfilled desires and all those kinds of things, until one day we have enough of it and say: “OK, that’s it; whatever I have, I have. If I don’t, I don’t” That the time you reach complete liberation. You liberate yourself from all your problems, from your own-self made prison and also your learned prejudices about who you are

His fear of the man sleeping beside me will stab me” shows his distrust and ridicule for people he deems as his “enemies”. Samy but do remember, it is wrong to curse a flower and wrong to curse a man. It is wrong not to hold any man in honor, and it is wrong to ridicule any man. You must honor yourselves and see within yourselves the spirit of eternal validity. If you do not do this, then you destroy what you touch. And you must honor each other individual also, because in him is the spark of eternal validity.

One commenter Jeffery in Kit’s blog entry has left a very insightful analysis of the way Samy has been using this interview to extricate himself from the corner he painted himself into and tried to worm himself out of it.

Samy Vellu in the BN government; an indispensable cover up guy hard to replace and find.

“As reported in NST Feb 25th, when asked whether he has “created a new style of approach with Indians”, Works Minister and MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said “Take me for instance. When I switch on my hand phone in the mornings, there will be a hundred calls from people trying to communicate their needs”.

It is true, Samy has a successful and prosperous political career for nearly 30 years in part due to his accessibility to and willingness to hear those who went to see him. The other attribute to which his political success is owed is the ability to ingratiate UMNO bigwigs.
But these two attributes – accessibility and ingratiation to which his political success is owed – are hardly a “new style” of political approach. Not that I blame him. Old patterns of behaviour, especially when they brought success, have a way of clinging stubbornly on like a weed that has taken firm root after 3 decades. You can remove the top, but the old weed will spring up again – and again. And that’s what happened when in an attempt to ingratiate UMNO Bigwigs, he went ballast on national TV to declare “I have also suggested that the Cabinet take appropriate action against the person (or persons) who had stolen and exhibited (the Litrak Concessionaire) agreement. The agreement is solely between the government and the company and it is a secret document,”

(The Sun). Knowing that the OSA is draconian and imposes mandatory jail term of 1 year, why else was he so adamant and vociferous in demanding investigation and prosecution of the 4 opposition leaders if it were not otherwise due to an attempt to ingratiate UMNO leaders? After all he cannot be blamed as privatization and concession are purely an EPU decision under the PM’s jurisdiction, which were approved by cabinet and merely taken over for implementation by the Works Ministry. That’s what earned him the rebuke from YB as being “blood thirsty”.

In his alacrity to lynch the whistleblowers, he apparently forgotten about the untenability of having commercial concessionaire agreements classified as official secrets when by their nature they have to be disseminated in the public domain to rating agencies, bankers, investing public to raise finance for the mega projects. In part, public opinion plays a major role via blogs etc to tell the government why it is untenable to classify these concessionaire agreements under OSA, recognizing which the cabinet decided to declassify them. But Samy has a problem for taking a hard public stand that has embarrassingly proven erroneous, earning him a label as a “bad boy of Tolls”! He has to contain the political fall out, minimize the costs, and preserve at all costs his infallible and competent image as a “know all minister” who is not impetuous to commit silly and basic errors.

So he resorts to the well-tried method of a political spin. Now the main purpose of a political spin is to reorient potentially embarrassing or ambiguous actions, (mis)statements, and/or circumstances in such a way as to deflect, minimize, or refute critical attention from himself – the political actor - as primary target. So he called for a Press interview, which is an appropriate stage for spin because of its reach.

He has used 2 types of strategic spins here:

(1) the Defensive Spin to recast or redefine an unfavorable set of circumstances to encourage viewing them in a more favorable (or at least more understandable and hence palatable) light as far as he is concerned. He therefore explained why he initially mistook the concessionaire agreement as coming within ambit of the OSA by saying in the interview that “Concession agreements are attached to cabinet papers. Since a cabinet paper is a classified paper, the attachment also becomes classified”. (This is of course not true. Even if cabinet minutes on why and to whom the concession is awarded are ‘classified’ under OSA, it bears no nexus to the formal agreement that is signed much later after the award!). He went on in the interview to now say “there is nothing wrong in allowing the people to look at the concession agreement”. He even painted the scenario that at his initiative “I went to the cabinet three weeks ago and asked them if we could open the concession agreements for public scrutiny” to which the “Prime Minister said ‘OK – you submit a paper” (read the cabinet decision to declassify the concession agreement is now all due to the ‘people orientated’ paper he submitted to the cabinet favoring disclosure! But this is not enough! Though this is a good ‘defense spin’ it won’t be the ‘best’ unless it is also complemented by a good offense spin, as Lee Kuan Yew is often quoted - ‘the best defense is a good offense’

(2) The Offensive Spin, which involves attacking or the strategic use of anger as a means of immobilizing specific political opponent and detractor who would otherwise be in a position to capitalize or continue to capitalize on the embarrassing circumstance to discredit him. So that’s where in the interview he has singled out YB Lim Kit Siang as a target for his ire by alleging that: -

(a) in labeling the Works Minister as “bloodthirsty”, he was imputing that he was “Dracula” since only Dracula, as vampire, “goes for blood” ; and

(b) that “a man and politician of his (LKS’s) age and experience should be more cultured when he talks about other people.

What Samy has engaged here is a fallacious form of argument popularly known as “straw man” argument. It is a logical fallacy based on (i) misrepresentation of an opponent’s position (in this case by misrepresenting and twisting the word “blood thirsty” used by YB LKS as a metaphor for “vengeful” to something else like the vampire Dracula, just because in the literal sense the vampire sucks and is thirsty for blood) (ii) , then attribute that position to the opponent (which is wrong because when LKS called him blood-thirsty, he had meant vengeful and not evil like vampire Dracula) and (iii) finally attack the opponent LKS for being uncivil for calling him a vampire! In short, Samy is engaging in a dishonest argument of attributing and extrapolating an untenable statement and position to an opponent who never in the first instance said it.What may be summarized from the analysis here? I think the following are fair:-

First, Samy is consummate politician who has been successful so far because of his attributes of being a good political actor of being accessible at all times to his constituents, yet at the same time adept at accommodating and ingratiating the egos of the UMNO’s bigwigs, and when attacked by political opponents, has an arsenal of defences and counterattacks by way of Defensive and Offensive Spins launched through the media stage;

Second, he is well aware that like other BN leaders and ministers from Dr Mahathir’s administration, he is overstaying his political career under Pak Lah’s administration. To carry on, he has to hone and sharpen more the very attributes that have helped his political career and success so far including the ability to ingratiate the UMNO bigwigs as well as launch political spins to counter public criticisms. The overzealousness in this regard has got him into trouble uninvited – as in the case of launching into a public tirade and demanding application of the OSA against the 4 opposition leaders for disclosing the Litrak Concessionaire Contract even if such contracts are rightly not blamed on him or the Works Ministry, being under purview of EPU under the PM.

Third, although he has talked about “a new style of approach” of politics, as it invariably is imperative because of changes in today’s world, he has, however, clung on stubbornly, like a weed that has taken firm root, to well tried successful formulas of the past like using political spins (both Defensive as well as Offensive in combination) to recover, if not, buttress political support perceived lost by an embarrassing circumstance of going ballast on national TV and ‘bloodthirsty’ against 4 opposition leaders over something that the latter has been able to seize a higher moral ground (ie the Litrak Concessionaire Agreement should be declassified for disclosure in public interest that cabinet decision subsequently vindicated) - which only shows that he has not adapted creatively to changes in the political environment brought on by better education and the proliferation of the Internet.

It will be recalled that it is the Internet and the Blogs therein that have played an effective role to convince the government that it is untenable to classify commercial and concessionaire agreement as secrets under the OSA. It will be further re-called that political spins whether Defensive or Offensive spins, are in today’s world of better education losing their edge and effect as people are able to see through the fallacious contents of these spins. In today’s world the watchword is transparency and accountability. To adapt and for political survival, Samy is well-advised to follow YB Kit’s advice to take the transparent approach by staging either a press conference, or a televised interview with a selected journalist with pre-screened questions to make to the public the following points: -

· That he had made a mistake in originally demanding for the 4 opposition leaders to be investigated under OSA;
· That if he had erred, he had erred mistakenly thinking that he had the law (OSA) on his side, which he now knows better he doesn’t but he should be forgiven as he is trained in architecture not law!
· That he would personally make sure the speedy declassification of the 21 concessionaire agreements and answer public queries on them if they were within the authority of his or his Ministry to explain.
In showing willingness to communicate forthrightly with the public, for a change in this manner, he will seize the initiative - whilst it is still his – to stand out as an example to other ministers of how to give effect to the Prime Minister’s platform of transparency and accountability, and in the process score more political brownie points to ensure his own longer term political survival and relevance in spite of overstaying.”

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Exclusive Sunday Times interview: 'I'm no Dracula'

By V. VASUDEVAN and RANJEETHA PAKIAM , 25 February, 2007

Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu speaks his mind on that ‘bad boy’ outburst, toll concession agreements, the government compensating concessionaires, hiking toll rates, the threats to MIC, the general election... Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu caught many by surprise with his remark about not being the "bad boy" of tolls. It was unusual for the man who has triumphed over greater challenges to lament. During a 60-minute interview with V. VASUDEVAN and RANJEETHA PAKIAM, the colourful Samy Vellu reveals the reason for the uncharacteristic remark and talks about Dracula, why highway concession agreements are classified under the Official Secrets Act, his critics and the MIC.

Q: Your outburst about not being "the bad boy" of tolls took many by surprise. All kinds of allegations have been levelled at you over the years regarding toll hikes, so why did you react that way?

A: There’s pressure being applied now by the opposition. They were trying to paint a picture that I make all these decisions to bring hardship to road users and the people, which is not true. I had wanted to say it for a long time, so I did it on that day (Feb 11), because, the previous day, Lim Kit Siang (the Opposition leader) had used a word which was really hurtful. Lim Kit Siang said I was going for blood. He was indirectly saying I’m a Dracula. Only a Dracula goes for blood. A man and politician of his age and experience should be more cultured when he talks about other people.
Q: But it is normal for him as opposition leader to harp on the wrongs in government?

A: He has been talking and getting away with it, so he feels that he has the licence to shoot. Take the Butterworth Outer Ring Road project. His son Lim Guan Eng asked why the cost of the road had shot up from RM470 million to RM700 million. He does not realise that it is a total scheme. The privatisation part is only RM470 million. But the other part was done by the Public Works Department and it cost RM275 million. He went to Sungai Nyior, Butterworth, and said: "They have swindled the people’s money."

The opposition has been saying all sorts of things but I had kept quiet.
Q: What did your Cabinet colleagues say about the ‘bad boy’ remark?

A: (Laughs) They didn’t say anything. They were calm about it. My Cabinet colleagues are very reasonable. Every time there is discussion about a toll rise, they will ask many questions. They will want to know why it is being done and whether there are ways to avoid it or reduce it.
Q: Has any Cabinet member ever said that this is wrong?

A: (Laughs again) No, no, not them.
Q: People are confused. Why was there a need to classify the highway concession agreements under the Official Secrets Act?

A: Concession agreements are attached to Cabinet papers. Since a Cabinet paper is a classified paper, the attachment also becomes classified. Until we take it out and say this is separate, anything attached to a Cabinet paper automatically becomes classified under the OSA.
Q: So it’s not a case of you protecting the concessionaire or you simply classifying it as an OSA document?

A: No. We are servants of the Cabinet. We execute Cabinet directives. In the process of execution, we often get scolded by many people, especially if it means a fare or price hike.
Q: You have no problems with anyone in the opposition or anyone else looking at the concession agreements?

A: There is nothing wrong in allowing the people to look at the concession agreements.
I feel that it is better to allow everybody to look at the concession agreement. If they dig and find out something, let them find out. We’ll answer their questions. After the accusations that the government was trying to hide something, I went to the Cabinet three weeks ago and asked them if we could open the concession agreements for public scrutiny. The prime minister said: "OK. You submit a paper." Then we went to the Attorney-General. He said it was all right. But there is a clause in the agreement that says that if either party wants to make public the agreements, they have to seek permission from each other. So, I told the Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong management that we were going to let the public view the agreement. They had no objections.
Q: How many highway concession agreements are there in Malaysia?

A: A total of 21. Several other projects are being built. One is the Putrajaya Expressway (dedicated highway), another is the Duta Expressway, and yet another is the Kuantan-Terengganu (Second East Coast Highway).
The work has not started yet on the West Coast Highway from Taiping to Banting. The Cabinet has approved it, but the EPU (Economic Planning Unit) is still doing some studies.
Q: Are you prepared to declassify all 21?

A: Yes.
Q: How soon do you think the concession agreements can be declassified?

A: As soon as I come back (from Syria, as part of the prime minister’s delegation). Most probably before the end of March, I will get it to the Cabinet for approval.
Q: Do you think your critics will find anything?

A: Let them look at the cost. They can also look at the amount of money that has been borrowed. See, you borrow RM1 billion, you pay back RM1.2 billion as interest. So the cost becomes RM2.2 billion. In 15 years, the cost becomes even higher. (See H E RE , a not yet qualified Accountant debunking his costing theory, another Spin another lie under Samee Velooos misleading SPIN on interest costs)
Q: You think they are going to be disappointed?

A: They will be disappointed. In many of the concessions, the government paid for the acquisition of land. Now, we have decided the concessionaire should meet the cost of land acquisition. That means that this will further increase the cost and they will ask for higher tolls to be levied.
Q: Why can’t the concession agreement be extended to keep the toll down?

A: Extend the concession to 30 or 40 years? You cannot do that, the bank will not agree. The lending period for the bank is 10 years, or a maximum of 15 years. They want back the money within that period.
Q: People keep asking, how is it that you have privatisation but the government ends up compensating concessionaires? How is the agreement actually worked out? If it is privatisation, shouldn’t they be making a profit?

A: No. The company, LDP, did not make any money. Originally, LDP started from one point to another but due to traffic congestion, I proposed to the government and to the EPU that we put five interchanges in between for people to enter and exit easily.
That cost more than RM400 million. So the government told the concession company to borrow the money. The concession company borrowed from EPF and built the interchanges, resulting in smoother traffic flow and convenience to the public.
But the critics are saying the company made RM80 million profit. The RM80 million is a paper profit, not a cash profit. And it is what the government compensated the company. Otherwise, there would be no profit at all.
Q: Is it true you are working on a new way of tabulating toll figures?

A: We are working on some ideas. Say, if it’s a 30-year toll period, then perhaps toll rates can be raised once in five or seven years. Now, some of them raise toll rates once in three years. We are thinking of ways to work out the costs. We will talk to the firms and banks about how best to do this.
Q: Are you looking to other countries for better methods of doing it?

A: We can’t go to other countries as they are all very costly. We are cheaper. They’ll come to us now. (laughs).
Q: Can motorists hope for any highway in the Klang Valley to become toll-free anytime soon?

A: Yes. I think the next one to be toll-free is the North Klang Straits Bypass, in 2009. Shapadu is the concessionaire for that stretch.
Q: Will the government continue collecting toll after any concession agreement expires?

A: No. When the Jalan Kuching and Jalan Pahang concession period was about to end, there were proposals to continue collecting toll, but the Cabinet said no. A promise is a promise. We have closed the Senai toll, too. We paid RM320 million in compensation. And in Port Dickson, we have asked PLUS to buy over the Seremban-Port Dickson stretch. They call it a ‘rugi’ (loss) road — in a day you have only 300 cars using it.
Q: Coming to the MIC, recently Pas launched an Indian wing to attract Indian voters. Keadilan has brought in businessman Datuk N. Nallakarupan and is making an effort to shore up its Indian wing. Do you think this will influence the Indians and the community’s voting pattern at the next election?

A: We have seen this before. Many Opposition parties have launched their Indian wings but eventually they come to nothing. The MIC has a strong connection with the people. We care for the people because we are with them everyday. Our communication with them is direct. We have created a new style of political approach. If it is just talking on the platform and walking away, it doesn’t amount to anything. On the question of Pas opening up an Indian wing, I am amazed by it. The Barisan Nasional is so successful because it has made the people think as one, to be together while they live their own cultures. I don’t think any Pas leader has ever openly announced that it will allow others the liberty of having their own culture, their religion. And even if they say: "Yes, we will allow it," they will put a rope around it and start pulling.

Q: You don’t anticipate any problem from Pas forming an Indian wing?

A: No, I don’t think the Malaysian Indians will trust them.
Q: Do you think the DAP is a problem to the MIC?

A: Their group of Indians have reached a certain level of awareness. They know that the DAP is just about six or seven people. No other Indian can come up in the DAP. Karpal Singh is very strong, that’s how he has survived. And M. Kulasegaran (Ipoh Barat MP) is trying to catch up with Karpal. Wherever they contest, we know how to deal with them.
Q: Last year was a good year for you, you finally got a team where everyone is with you. How is your new deputy doing? Are you happy with him and the team?

A: I have a free heart now. I don’t have to keep one eye open all the time for fear that the man sleeping beside me will stab me... That is important. They are very obedient, they take directives, and they work, do their own planning and carry on with their work, which enhances my own work. My programme is large. I’ll be all over the country doing this and that. These people come and support me at all times and they themselves do a lot of work. Like (deputy MIC president Datuk G.) Palanivel, who does a lot of work on his own. At times, when I need to discuss certain things with them, with one signal and they are there. They will come out with what they have on their minds. [This was an obvious reference to his former Deputy S Subramaniam]
Q: You are happiest now as MIC president?

A: Yes. (with a big smile)
Q: On Thursday, at the Central Working Committee meeting, you talked about the coming general election. How many incumbents are you thinking of replacing?

A: I can’t tell you that. We have a majority of new fellows, except for a few veterans. I’ve contested seven times. The rest are two- or three-term representatives. Palanivel has contested since 1990.
Q: Some of the state exco members have been around for long. Why is that?

A: You see, the veterans work very fast. You tell them to do something; they can get the work done through the state government. The new ones often lack certain things. But generally, all of them co-operate very well.
Q: You said you have created a new style of approach with Indians. What is that?

A: Our communication with them is direct. Take me for instance. When I switch on my handphone in the mornings, there will be over a hundred calls from people trying to communicate their needs. When I am in the car, I am busy attending to calls and handling problems faced by ordinary people. For example, husbands running away is a common problem. If a woman is left to fend for herself, she will come to the MIC for help. These are the things that only the MIC can take to the government, can get assistance from the Welfare Department. We also provide our own assistance. One year, I think we spend nearly RM5 million on the ordinary people. And every Tuesday morning, we open our headquarters and I sit there to listen to them directly.

3 Comments:

Blogger Billy said...

Samy, in the coming GE, we want you to stand as the BN candidate in my constituency Cheras so that we may "retire" you once and for all, since you are so reluctant to do so yourself.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear multidimid or whoever you are,

Your blog is wonderful , it just likes the way mind-mapping do

Your blog show creativity compare to JeffOoi and Tony Pua who only shower us with negative and bad news that cut and paste from daily news

Keep up the good work !!!!

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The picture shows he is grossly overweight & oversize physically with too much "toddy (not wine), women and song" in KL, Sungei Siput & All over the Globe.

5:43 PM  

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