Friday, April 06, 2007

MORE PICS – SAMY VELLU’S OUTBURST in Parliament over Toll Hikes in 5 Expressways; Pointed Finger at EPU for the decisions; His Ministry is just a TOOL

Apology - NO NEW post till Sunday 08 April 07;
Gone back for CHING BENG festival in I P O H

Samy: Works Ministry is EPU's 'tool'; Pauline Puah; SUN

KUALA LUMPUR (April 5, 2007): Irritated and fed up with the constant heckling over the toll increase issues, Works Minister Datuk Seri S.Samy Vellu says his ministry is only a "tool" (alat) to the Economic Planning Unit (EPU). "The EPU under the Prime Minister's Department may have to take full charge of all matters related to highway projects in the future. "I cannot allow my ministry to continue to be the scapegoat ... I did not make any decision on the applications by the (highway) companies.

"All of these (decisions) were made by the EPU. They submit proposals to the Cabinet and the Cabinet decides. "But it is this ministry which has always been seen as stupid and heartless. So, I have a new idea, whatever proposals from the EPU, I will object and review," said the irritated minister.

Samy's response to Datuk Tan Lian Ho (BN-Bukit Gantang)'s supplementary question, asking for the rationale of the toll hikes, invited noisy reactions from parliamentarians.

When Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) said since the ministry is only EPU's "tool", then the final deciding authorities such as the Prime Minister should be present to answer the question.

Samy shouted: "Your question is 150% out of the original question. This is not a political game." "You think I am scared of the final authorities.

I am not scared at all." More boos followed. To another supplementary question from Datuk Kamaruddin Jaffar (PAS-Tumpat), Samy Vellu said the government 'sympathised' with the people and thus had compensated RM2 billion to five highway concessionaire companies.

"If the government did not sympathise with the people, then no need (for us to compensate anyone). Just let the people suffer. But we can't do that. We have to take care of the people," he added. Replying an original question from Tan, Samy said the rate of increase from all the toll plazas since last year were as follows:.

* Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (60%)

* Shah Alam Highway (46.66%-54.54%)

* Shah Alam Highway-Kuang (40%)

* KL-Karak Highway (Gombak) (25%)

* KL-Karak Highway (Bentong) (20%)

* Cheras-Kajang Highway (42.86%-50%

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