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Govt must be serious in toll issue

KUALA LUMPUR, 27 May 2009: The government must view proposals to reduce toll rates substantially very seriously or even abolish toll so as to avoid criticism from the people, said former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo.

“Some are saying that if the government had the interest of the people at heart, some of the toll collection in the Klang Valley must be abolished as it results in hardship and traffic congestion,” he said in his blog www.drkhir.com.

He added that the pressing toll issues involves a number of toll highways in the Klang Valley, especially those in densely populated areas which cause massive traffic congestion while toll collected for short stretches, are high.

Among them are the Lebuh Raya Damansara-Puchong (LDP), Lebuh Raya Bertingkat Ampang, Lebuh Raya Sungai Besi (Besraya), Lebuh Raya Cheras-Kajang and Lebuh Raya Shah Alam (Kesas).

Apart from traffic congestion and high toll rates, the collection of toll in the Klang Valley where people have to use highways like Kesas and LDP to work daily, was also not sustainable and becomes a burden to the people, he said.

“The people are willing to share part of the cost for using facilities and infrastructure like the North-South Expressway which provides a comfortable ride whenever they used it.

“But what really irks the people is whenever they leave the house for work or other purposes daily, they end up paying toll at two or three places and then again the rates are high. Some may have to make a few trips daily,” he said.

Mohamad Khir who is also the Sungai Panjang state assemblyperson said on average, a worker spends about one-third of his earnings on toll and petrol, every month.

“That is excluding maintenance for children, house, car, education, increase in price of goods, electricity tariff. All this certainly takes its toll on the people and that is the cause of their frustration and anger towards the government,” he said.

For a worker who stays in Shah Alam and uses the Kesas to work in Bukit Jalil, he or she would have to spend RM8.40 a day for toll for one round trip and that amounts to about RM200 a month, while those staying in Sunway and work in Putrajaya, end up paying RM6.40 a day.

“That is excluding petrol, car maintenance and food,” he said. — Bernama

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