Mahathir Admitted Malaysian Cabinet's Stupidity

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Jan 09 2007
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Finally Mahathir Mohamad, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia admitted the government (during his time) have erred in signing the toll concession agreements and urged the present administration to be more careful before agreeing to toll hikes. He also urged the toll concession companies to be open to the idea of re-negotiating the terms, especially if they are doing well financially.

This is one of thing that we need to correct. What you have is a cabinet which is not very knowledgeable all the time because it is not made up of experts but politicians (and) some politicians like myself can sometimes be stupid,” he said when told by reporters that all the five tolled expressways were constructed during his 22-year tenure as prime minister.

Mahathir said the agreements were drafted by officers and submitted to the cabinet and usually the small prints are not there – “The cabinet merely gave approvals in principle and never really studied the implications in some parts of the agreements.”

The concessionaires of Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP), Kesas, Guthrie Corridor Highway, Cheras-Kajang highway and Kuala Lumpur-Karak highways have been granted toll hike of up to 60% which started 1-Jan-2007. Gamuda Berhad (KLSE : GAMUDA, stock-code 5398) and its 38%-owned Lingkaran Trans Kota Holdings Berhad (KLSE : LITRAK) are the concession holders for the 40km Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP). Gamuda also has a stake in the consortium that holds the concession for the Kesas Shah Alam Highway. MTD Infraperdana Berhad (KLSE : MTDInfra, stock-code 9768) is the concessionaire for the Karak Highway and East Coast Highway while unlisted Grand Saga Sdn Bhd is the concessionaire for the Cheras-Kajang Highway.

Funny Mahathir only spoke out now that he’s no longer with the government. I’m sure he’s aware of the public outcry even before he passed the baton to current Badawi. As the most powerful figure who walked the corridor of power, he should have correct the mistake which he can and not wait until now to claim credit as if he’s the champion of the citizen. What is he trying to do? Trying to become the robin-hood with the intention of leaving a “good name” of himself (he’s 81 now)? There were about 1,000 people who staged a peaceful demonstration at Sunway Pyramid last Sunday against the toll hike.

However, now that Badawi has warm the premier seat for the last 3 years will he do something about it with the latest public demonstration or will he leave it as it is under the excuse the contract has been signed? Or maybe he would like to keep this as another bullet to be used for the coming general election.

# TIP: The sad thing is you’re paying the toll to get trapped especially at the LDP highway. Avoid this highway (if possible) during peak-hour – if you do not know yet.

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