Tuesday, April 17, 2012

BN turning traffic summonses into profits

PETALING JAYA: The government’s move to privatise traffic summonses has drawn flak from PKR Selayang MP William Leong.

He claimed that the ruling party’s “frenzy to make money” has blinded Barisan Nasional of its duty towards the people.

The Automated Enforcement System (AES) project was recently awarded to Beta Tegap Sdn and ATES Sdn Bhd who would spend up to RM400 million to install cameras at 831 “black spots” nationwide.

In return both private companies would be entitled to RM16 per summons for the first five million issued. Each firm would receive 7.5% from the remaining revenue up to a cap of RM270 million each and the government would keep the rest.

The Edge reported that each company would issue an estimated 10 million valid summonses over a five-year period of which more than half, each carrying a penalty of RM300, would likely be paid.

Leong voiced concern that with the revenue tied to the number of summonses issued, the two companies and the Transport Ministry would be spurred to ensure that the number of speeding violations do not dip below the 10 million mark each year.

“Turning the issuance of traffic summonses into a business for the maximisation of profits has compromised the government’s duty to promote road safety,” he stated.

“Since profits are contingent on a minimum number of traffic summonses being issued, this model is incompatible with any programme to promote road safety and reduce speeding.”

Leong instead urged the ministry to consider a study on revising the speed limits on highways as well as methods of reducing road accidents.

Review this project

He cited “Ops Sikap” as an example in which road safety was better improved by the physical presence of police than snapshots taken by hidden cameras.

“This privatisation of traffic summonses is an example of the BN government having lost sight of its duties to the people in their feeding frenzy to make money out of every conceivable aspect of government,” Leong said.

“I ask Prime Minister (Najib Tun Razak) to review this AES project because road safety cannot be compromised and should not be turned into a business venture.”

Leong also urged MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek to back up his claim that Beta Tegap and ATES had no links to the party by disclosing the date that the project was awarded.

“This project was mooted and implemented under the watch of three transport ministers all of whom were from MCA,” he pointed out.

“I ask Chua and Transport Minister Kong Cho Har to disclose the date this AES project was awarded and whether the directors or shareholders of these two companies are known to the minister or ministers concerned,” he said.