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> All About Tolls, Rates, Price increase & decrease, etc.

vexus
post Feb 4 2007, 11:59 PM
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QUOTE
Anti-toll hike protest: More arrests made
Feb 4, 07 5:05pm Adjust font size: 

Fifteen people were arrested in front of Puchong's IOI shopping mall in the fourth demonstration in just as many weeks against the sharp highway toll increases.

Organised by Protes - a coalition of opposition parties, trade unions, civil society and student groups - the demonstration, which began about 4pm today, drew about 1,000 people at its peak.

Among those arrested were key leaders of opposition parties including PAS parliamentarian Salahuddin Ayub, PKR's Tian Chua, R Sivarasa (photo below, right), Badrul Hisham (photo below, left) and activist Mohd Ezam Mohd Nor.

Most of the major access roads to Puchong, a southern Kuala Lumpur suburb which sits in the centre of several highways, require motorists to pay toll.

The IOI shopping mall is about 1km away from the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP), which registered the sharpest increase in the recent toll hike - from RM1 to RM1.60 per trip.

Two rounds of arrests

After initially gathering at entrance to the mall, a group of 250 protestors began marching outside towards the highway where the crowd later swelled to about 1,000 people.

The crowd was beside the highway for about 10 minutes before Subang OCPD Fuad Talib issued a warning for the crowd to disperse. This was followed by several arrests at about 4.45pm and loud jeers were heard from the crowd.

Despite protestors staying clear from the highway, the police decided to close off certain lanes to motorists, causing traffic to snarl up.

Later, Sg Pinang assemblyperson and DAP politician Teng Chang Khim announced to the crowd that he and Fuad had struck a deal where detainees would be released on condition that the protestors disperse.

However, several of those detained were whisked away in a police truck.

In response, Tian Chua urged the crowd to converge at the Puchong police station, where several protestors were detained.

About 300 protestors ended up regrouping directly opposite IOI shopping mall and again started chanting slogans denouncing the toll hike.

A second wave of arrest then took place, prompting the protestors to march towards the police station some five minutes away.

There was no provocation by the crowd nor did they react violently during the arrests apart from some struggles being put up by a few of those being taken away.

About 70 riot police arrived at about 6pm to bolster the local police presence, and they formed a cordon outside the Puchong police station. The riot police came equipped with a water-cannon truck.

While outside the police station, the protestors held an 'open mike' session where various activists, politicians and individuals took turns to denounce the toll hike and sing reformasi songs.

Suara Keadilan reporter held

At about 8.30pm, all 15 were released on police bail. They will have to report back at the same station on Feb 21.

"Protes will meet as soon as possible to decide on the date and venue for our next protest," Tian Chua told some 100 cheering supporters on emerging from the police station.

A number of those arrested today, including Tian Chua, were also detained by the police at the third protest two weeks ago.

Among those arrested today was Syfiq Sunni, 20, a full-time reporter for Suara Keadilan, PKR's party organ.

He told malaysiakini that he was caught in the melee during the first wave of protest and one policeman had tried to seize his camera.

Syfiq added that he was arrested after he refused to hand over his camera. However, he managed to give his camera to a friend before being hauled away.

This is the second time a member of the press had been detained during the four anti-toll hike rallies that have taken place over the past five weeks.

Secret toll deal

Two Sundays ago, the police swooped in to prevent anti-toll protestors from gathering near the Cheras-Kajang Highway Batu 11 toll booth and arrested 21 people.

A malaysiakini journalist was detained by the police for two hours as they sought to obtain the photos he had taken. However, he was freed without the photos being handed over.

In this particular protest, eyewitnesses have accused the police of using excessive force when making the arrests.

Several protestors claimed that they were victims of police abuse while the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) is deliberating on whether to probe the incident.

In constrast, the first two demonstrations - Subang's Sunway City on Jan 7 and Gombak's KL-Karak toll booth on Jan 14 - went off without any incident.

Effective Jan 1, the toll rates for five highways in the Klang Valley saw an increase between 20 to 60 percent.

There is also much disgruntlement over the government's reluctance to make public the highway concession agreements.

Four opposition leaders are being hauled up tomorrow for releasing a toll agreement classified under the Official Secrets Act.

Apart from LDP, the other highways affected by the toll hike are the Shah Alam Highway, Cheras-Kajang Highway, Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway and the Guthrie Corridor Expressway.

source: malaysiakini
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look the govt is a bit over. They catch the rakyat. my god. cry.gif cry.gif doh.gif

the biggest mistakes the govt catch innosense rakyat.
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spanker
post Feb 5 2007, 12:14 AM
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QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 4 2007, 11:27 PM)
And you can thank our three friends choosing your method over mine for that.
My method was to run calculations based on public announcement by the roadkill donning Sami Vellu's announcement on traffic shortfall and compensation amount. It was never my method to steal and publish OSA material.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 4 2007, 11:27 PM)
And what is happening now?
Precisely what I said would happen if actual proof was acquired.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 4 2007, 11:27 PM)
Please, please, please, let's not play this gainsaying game again.
Hey, don't blame me for doubting your words even though you doubted mine.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 4 2007, 11:27 PM)
Thank you for proving my point. As your words clearly illustrate, the impression of their intentions is heavily subjective, and hence "because their intentions were noble" is a very flimsy reason to back what they did, which is the point you missed in the latter parts of the above quote.
My point is that just because their methods were questionable, there's no reason to dismiss that their intentions may be noble. You're just taking the other spectrum.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 4 2007, 11:27 PM)
And remind me what the case of Tan Eng Guan was. I don't have that good a memory that I can remember cases simply by the name of one person involved.
He was sent to Kamunting for charging an UMNO minister of rape. Google it up.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 4 2007, 11:27 PM)
Again, my point exactly. Can you back up your postulation that the government dropping the hammer on these guys for breaking the law equates to the government wanting to hide something? I repeat what I've been saying for ages in this thread: contracts being secret is common, and therefore the government keeping the highway contracts under the OSA and enforcing it does not automatically mean that there is something sinister afoot. Why do people keep ignoring this simple reality?
Sure, a contract can be private and confidential, but protecting it under OSA stinks. A contract that determines public interest and which was demanded to be disclosed no longer abides by this "common" trait.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 4 2007, 11:27 PM)
Do you mean to say that they never published those documents or made copies to be shown to the public or knowledgeable people?
You're awfully quick to jump the gun this time. I never said they did not make copies, and I'm in no position to do so. Even if they did, it could also mean they would violate printing regulations and whatever laws the establishment can pin on them, increasing the penalty on themselves.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 4 2007, 11:27 PM)
Then they are inefficient... no, stupid whistleblowers. I was working on the logical assumption that they would already have shown it at least to people who would be able to prove that the documents prove the allegations being thrown at the highway concessionaires and the government, which means that they would have had witnesses to prove that they were on the right track and the government was covering it up, and that would have shifted the burden of guilt and proof onto the government in court.
Well that makes 2 of us.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 4 2007, 11:27 PM)
Perhaps this is a good time to ask why no disclosure of OSA documents has ever been made despite calls for disclosure. A second obvious theory, apart from the "because the government is draconian and authoritarian" theory that I believe you ascribe to, is that people haven't been pushing hard enough in the right way and haven't bothered to keep pushing. As I said in my last post before I disappeared for a while:
Surely now, with no less than 4 protests about fuel prices and toll prices in the past few months, I'd find that to an indication of people pushing hard for disclosure. Sorry your point is unacceptable.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 4 2007, 11:27 PM)
"It's possible if the proof that you dig up has nothing to do with the concession contracts themselves. Proving that the toll rise results in an unreasonable amount of money given to the concessionaire would be one that doesn't break the law, so long as you are arguing based on known industry-standard costs and the like, which is all information that you can glean from things like published bills-of-quantity books, manufacture pricing, market prices and a knowledge of what needs to be done in operations."

Real world example: remember the whole hooha about ASLI and the NEP figures a few months back? It forced the government to try and defend its methods and figures - which were, if I recall correctly, at least partly under the OSA - and, as I recall, people here found their explanation wanting. Now, consider the effect of coming up with a similar third-party contradiction to the recent toll rise.
Which was what I did. Figures which you disputed, which you can't back up yourself.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 4 2007, 11:27 PM)
"Waitaminute", you say. "Nothing ever came out of the whole ASLI thing. I recall that there were promises from the government to disclose their methodology properly, but where is that disclosure now?" Good question, and there's a simple reason as to why that is so: nobody seems to have remembered to follow the government up on that promise.
Nobody's forgotten it, it just that the government is killing the story with other stories.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 4 2007, 11:27 PM)
So, as I explained in previous posts, at the very least such oblique attacks on something that is protected by the OSA would result in the government eventually having to disclose or at least promise to disclose the relevant documents, the latter event being something that you can hold the government to, especially come election-time. Seems to me that that would've been a helluva lot more constructive than lifting OSA-protected documents and declaring that you have them without apparently publishing the relevant parts for people to see.
I've always believed in abolishing this OSA policy. Disclosing agreements under OSA is just a futile move, you can't checkmate without securing your pieces first. Real top secret files can be still be classified as top secret, and if it leaks out somehow. At least it is fair game.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 4 2007, 11:27 PM)
And by the way, you never did come back with an explanation for the last few critical questions I brought up regarding your calculations.
*
Which ones?

This post has been edited by spanker: Feb 5 2007, 12:18 AM
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vexus
post Feb 5 2007, 12:22 AM
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we are living in a dictator country. The is no democracy freedom.

Speculated june 2007 onward we will see the impact on our country. Everyone is not happy with the govt policy now. Just be prepare for the worst.
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ZidaneZCustom
post Feb 5 2007, 12:26 AM
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I have the Puchong protest photos. smile.gif

Click the link below..
http://forum.lowyat.net/topic/393802/+214#

Malaysiakini only have that much photos??
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vexus
post Feb 5 2007, 12:27 AM
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QUOTE(ZidaneZCustom @ Feb 5 2007, 12:26 AM)
I have the Puchong protest photos. smile.gif

Click the link below..
http://forum.lowyat.net/topic/393802/+214#

Malaysiakini only have that much photos??
*
thsi web got more

http://www.lensamalaysia.com/forum/showthr...p?t=3558&page=9
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littlefox
post Feb 5 2007, 01:52 AM
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QUOTE(spanker @ Feb 5 2007, 12:14 AM)
My method was to run calculations based on public announcement by the roadkill donning Sami Vellu's announcement on traffic shortfall and compensation amount. It was never my method to steal and publish OSA material.


I clarify my statement. You gave me the impression that you were of the opinion that laws being broken in the pursuit of proof or evidence of governmental wrongdoing is acceptable and even necessary. That was what I meant by "your method". Pardon the confusion.


QUOTE
Precisely what I said would happen if actual proof was acquired.


No. What is happening now is not what you said would happen if actual proof was required.

QUOTE
Hey, don't blame me for doubting your words even though you doubted mine.


Look, I don't mind you doubting my words. But at least give a response as to why you think you know that their cause was noble. That was what I wanted, not a flippant, rhetorical gainsay response. As I said, I'm not about to play the "I'm right and you're not and so there" game that we tend to fall into all over again.

QUOTE
My point is that just because their methods were questionable, there's no reason to dismiss that their intentions may be noble. You're just taking the other spectrum.


I'm not arguing whether or not their intentions are noble on the basis of what they did. I'm pointing out that whether or not their intentions are noble is not a strong basis to support what they did. We are not arguing about the same point at all, and spectral position doesn't come into it.


QUOTE
He was sent to Kamunting for charing an UMNO minister of rape. Google it up.


Are you sure you're not talking about Lim Guan Eng and the Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik case (statutory rape of minor)?


QUOTE
Sure, a contract can be private and confidential, but protecting it under OSA stinks. A contract that determines public interest and which was demanded to be disclosed no longer abides by this "common" trait.


I note that you did not explain why protecting a state contract, which is private and confidential, under a law designed to do precisely that "stinks". And I note that you don't explain why a contract that is in the public interest and has been requested for declassification suddenly loses all the necessity and rights of remaining a secret. It's up to the people petitioning that it should be disclosed to make a case for said disclosure; it should never be as simple as saying "This secret should be disclosed" and then the government saying "Okay, since you asked nicely, here it is". That's defeats the whole point of it being secret in the first place: to control access to those that need to know only.


QUOTE
You're awfully quick to jump the gun this time. I never said they did not make copies, and I'm in no position to do so. Even if they did, it could also mean they would violate printing regulations and whatever laws the establishment can pin on them, increasing the penalty on themselves.


I'm not jumping the gun. I'm asking for clarification. Remember that I've been away for 43 days and wasn't here when it actually happened, hence probably missing important details in the volume of posts between then and now.

Violating the printing regulations would be part of the whistleblowing process, I believe, so proving that they were right should rightfully get them off the hook for that. Increasing the penalty shouldn't have been an issue if they were aiming to show "the truth", as it were. It is a strange whistleblower who says "I have documents that prove I'm right! But I'm not showing it to anyone."

QUOTE
Well that makes 2 of us.


Precisely, which is why your apparent opinion that the documents are being demanded back by the government means that there is no way the information there would ever get out now. As I said, I would've thought that they'd actually, you know, check that the contracts really did prove hanky panky before declaring that they had them.


QUOTE
Surely now, no less than 4 protests about fuel prices and toll prices is an indication of people pushing hard for disclosure. Sorry this point is unacceptible.


Mind you, I was talking about disclosure in general. As I mentioned, we seem to have a general problem with keeping up the pressure. Yes, these current protests are different, but that just makes them the exception, not the rule.


QUOTE
Nobody's forgotten it, it just that the government is killing the story with other stories.


It's no excuse. After all, so much effort is being put into keeping this current highway tolls issue in the public eye with the protests, correct?


QUOTE
I've always believed in abolishing this OSA policy. Disclosing agreements under OSA is just a futile move, you can't checkmate without securing your pieces first. Real top secret files can be still be classified as top secret, and if it leaks out somehow. At least it is fair game.


Without the OSA or a similar law, however, the government would have less legal teeth to enforce the fact that those files are top secret with. And mind you, one can always, if one chooses to, mark files that shouldn't be top secret as top secret. You would still have the same situation, only with different names.


QUOTE
Which was what I did. Figures which you disputed, which you can't back up yourself.

...

Which ones?
*
Error in my url. It should be the last post on this page. Some background may be necessary, though, because just looking at the questions I posted required me to look through the entire sequence of argument to figure out what I was getting at. For your convenience:

- You started off with the assumption that the RM 2 billion toll subsidy is used purely to cover the shortfall and questioned the number of cars that it would entail. Namely, you questioned how believable the idea of having 1.4 million cars going through those tolls in the Klang Valley every month was and, since you felt that it was unreasonable, you figured that this proves that the RM 2 billion is a, shall we say, "special payment".

- I disputed about how you go the numbers and you explained that you were basing it by calculating backwards from the RM 2 billion figure, namely RM 2 billion / (RM 4 worth of tolls a day * 30 days a month) = approxmately 1.41 million vehicles a month. Since I said that whether or not the number of cars going through the tolls is reasonable depended on what the number of cars registered are, you provided the relevant JPJ website.

- I pointed out that 6.5 million registered vehicles makes the 1.4 million per month figure look reasonable. We then agreed to set the estimated shortfall to 900,000 for ease of calculation. I also asked why you thought the RM 2 billion subsidy was supposed to make up for the 900,000-vehicle shortfall.

- You replied that you believe so because the article you originally quoted states it. You further point out that because of the fact that the 900,000 car figure constitutes 20% of the total expected figure, the total expected number of cars must be 4.5 million cars.

- I agreed that although the 1.41 million number was reasonable, the 4.5 million expected number would be ridiculous. However, I questioned why the initial 900,000 figure was multiplied by 8. I also stated that the article actually doesn't say that the RM 2 billion is specifically to compensate the concessionaires; the article actually said that the concessionaires will be compensated, and that the RM 2 billion is actually a toll subsidy, and argued that that means that it is effectively being paid to the public and not the concessionaire, since the amount the concessionaire would get would still be the same if the RM 2 billion subsidy wasn't there (it'd just come directly out of our pockets instead).

- You asked whether what I said meant that a subsidy of 50 sen means that the concessionaires are facing a 50% shortfall in traffic. You also explained that the multiplier you used to arrive at the 4.5 million cars figure comes from the logic that if 900,000 cars is 20% of the total traffic expected, the total traffic must be 900,000 cars / 20% = 4.5 million cars.

- In my last post in that sequence, I pointed out that the 900,000 estimate was arrived at based on the idea that the RM 2 billion figure was to cover the shortfall. The problem is that it's not. It is a toll subsidy which only makes up for what we don't pay the concessionaire. Had the subsidy not been there, we would be the ones paying out that figure from our pockets in daily installments. So, I argued that there is no reason for the multiplier to be there.

What we have at the end of that is this: the basic premise you started with (the RM 2 billion toll subsidy directly pays for the 20% traffic shortfall) is wrong. That means that not only the multiplier you used was wrong, but the estimation you made of the number of cars is wrong. From RM 2 billion, you can estimate that they expect approximately 900,000 cars (or 1.41 million, as you estimated initially) to go through the tolls per month, and that is their entire projected traffic per month, which sounds reasonable given the 6.5 million cars registered with the JPJ (be that number for just the Klang Valley or the whole of Malaysia). The use of that RM 2 billion is accounted for, ie. to pay part of the toll costs for the people. So, basically, your entire calculation failed to prove that the toll rise is a scam to simply give extra money to the concessionaires, that it is, as you say, a rip-off.

Those are the critical points that you never addressed.
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Invince_Z
post Feb 5 2007, 04:25 AM
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Well, I have frens from Dubai, UAE...etc. All of them claim, Malaysia filled with cheap stuff.Even ERL fees they claim to be cheap....a lot more cheaper than other countries. The same goes for tolls & other thing. I can see them spending few hundreds like nothing while I'm with them. sweat.gif
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spanker
post Feb 5 2007, 08:35 AM
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QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 5 2007, 01:52 AM)
I clarify my statement. You gave me the impression that you were of the opinion that laws being broken in the pursuit of proof or evidence of governmental wrongdoing is acceptable and even necessary. That was what I meant by "your method". Pardon the confusion.
Yes, of course it is, we had come across it many times. For instance, one had forgo their allegiance to the government to uncover classified secrets,(Deep Throat), a riot took place to bring police beating to the next level (Rodney King), and some others.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 5 2007, 01:52 AM)
Look, I don't mind you doubting my words. But at least give a response as to why you think you know that their cause was noble. That was what I wanted, not a flippant, rhetorical gainsay response. As I said, I'm not about to play the "I'm right and you're not and so there" game that we tend to fall into all over again.

I'm not arguing whether or not their intentions are noble on the basis of what they did. I'm pointing out that whether or not their intentions are noble is not a strong basis to support what they did. We are not arguing about the same point at all, and spectral position doesn't come into it.
You doubted their intention because you believe their action is "flimsy", I said they are fighting to disclose a secret which had exploited the everyday malaysian for over a decade. It's like how Robin Hood is a criminal to some, and a hero to others.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 5 2007, 01:52 AM)
Are you sure you're not talking about Lim Guan Eng and the Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik case (statutory rape of minor)?
Yeah, same person, wrong name. My mistake there.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 5 2007, 01:52 AM)
I note that you did not explain why protecting a state contract, which is private and confidential, under a law designed to do precisely that "stinks". And I note that you don't explain why a contract that is in the public interest and has been requested for declassification suddenly loses all the necessity and rights of remaining a secret. It's up to the people petitioning that it should be disclosed to make a case for said disclosure; it should never be as simple as saying "This secret should be disclosed" and then the government saying "Okay, since you asked nicely, here it is". That's defeats the whole point of it being secret in the first place: to control access to those that need to know only.
Ok if you want an explanation, how about keeping the agreement under OSA is a threat to national security? With such lack of transparency and growing dissent, and amidst public protests, there can be 2 outcomes: An escalation of public unrest due to govt apathy; and more stringent Official Secret Acts to provide harsher punishments and to discourage transparency.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 5 2007, 01:52 AM)
Violating the printing regulations would be part of the whistleblowing process, I believe, so proving that they were right should rightfully get them off the hook for that. Increasing the penalty shouldn't have been an issue if they were aiming to show "the truth", as it were. It is a strange whistleblower who says "I have documents that prove I'm right! But I'm not showing it to anyone."
Just because they're not good at espionage doesn't mean they can't be right.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 5 2007, 01:52 AM)
Precisely, which is why your apparent opinion that the documents are being demanded back by the government means that there is no way the information there would ever get out now. As I said, I would've thought that they'd actually, you know, check that the contracts really did prove hanky panky before declaring that they had them.
The JFK conspiracy took years to process in court, not to mention another few years following up on leads. So really I can't accept your point because if I were to fish out official secrets and I want to prove that there are hanky pankies, I'd need time to follow up and verify on conditions stated in the contract.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 5 2007, 01:52 AM)
Mind you, I was talking about disclosure in general. As I mentioned, we seem to have a general problem with keeping up the pressure. Yes, these current protests are different, but that just makes them the exception, not the rule.
All the more reason to believe they are really putting pressure for disclosure.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 5 2007, 01:52 AM)
It's no excuse. After all, so much effort is being put into keeping this current highway tolls issue in the public eye with the protests, correct?
It IS an excuse. With protests consisting of hundreds and even over a thousand protestors, what we see in the newspapers is just a short 200 word paragraph, with no mentions in the TV media. It's hard to fuel public interest when the message doesn't get out.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 5 2007, 01:52 AM)
Without the OSA or a similar law, however, the government would have less legal teeth to enforce the fact that those files are top secret with. And mind you, one can always, if one chooses to, mark files that shouldn't be top secret as top secret. You would still have the same situation, only with different names.
No, OSA gives govt the power to prosecute. Without OSA, everything is fair game. It's like allowing radar detectors to sense speed traps.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 5 2007, 01:52 AM)
- In my last post in that sequence, I pointed out that the 900,000 estimate was arrived at based on the idea that the RM 2 billion figure was to cover the shortfall. The problem is that it's not. It is a toll subsidy which only makes up for what we don't pay the concessionaire. Had the subsidy not been there, we would be the ones paying out that figure from our pockets in daily installments. So, I argued that there is no reason for the multiplier to be there.
Ok, now here's your flaw.
1. You completely disregarded that Sami Vellu made the announcement that the RM2 billion subsidy was to cover traffic shortfall.

2. There's no proof (because it's illegal to get proof) that says the toll subsidy is to make up what we don't pay them. Because if there is, it'd be declared by the PWD, but it's not. The best indication that we have is the toll rates in the appendix. Now surely if the rates are in the appendix section of the agreement, there's really no obligation to abide by it, no?

The reason for the multiplier to be there is to disprove whatever BS story concocted by Sami, and to discredit his reason for increasing toll rates.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 5 2007, 01:52 AM)
What we have at the end of that is this: the basic premise you started with (the RM 2 billion toll subsidy directly pays for the 20% traffic shortfall) is wrong.
No it's not, that is the very basic point provided by the PWD for the subsidy, which I believe I put a link to that announcement.

QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 5 2007, 01:52 AM)
That means that not only the multiplier you used was wrong, but the estimation you made of the number of cars is wrong. From RM 2 billion, you can estimate that they expect approximately 900,000 cars (or 1.41 million, as you estimated initially) to go through the tolls per month, and that is their entire projected traffic per month, which sounds reasonable given the 6.5 million cars registered with the JPJ (be that number for just the Klang Valley or the whole of Malaysia). The use of that RM 2 billion is accounted for, ie. to pay part of the toll costs for the people. So, basically, your entire calculation failed to prove that the toll rise is a scam to simply give extra money to the concessionaires, that it is, as you say, a rip-off.

Those are the critical points that you never addressed.
*
To me it is addressed but it is not accepted by you because you don't think the fundamental argument here is the very quote that the RM2 billion subsidy is to cover the traffic shortfall. I'm just working on what is already public.
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Drian
post Feb 5 2007, 10:04 AM
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QUOTE
Anyway, it is not uncommon for construction contracts to be deemed classified, even in the private sector, and the same probably holds true for business contracts. Consider: would you want your competitor to know what the terms of your contract with a particular supplier is so that they can offer a better deal? Therefore, no conspiratory angle should automatically be assumed simply because the government refuses to show the highway contracts to the public. But, of course, this is simply going to fall on deaf ears in this thread.


You are assuming that the contracts are placed under official secrets act because of business reasons. What if the contracts are placed due to:-

a.) Not wanting the public to know that the government has offered a contract
that guaranteed profits to concessionaires at the expense of road users.
b.) Not wanting the public to know that the contract offered is ridiculous and it benefits more towards the highway concessionaires rather than the tax payers.
c.) Not wanting the public to know why the subsidies are higher than the cost of building the roads.
d.) If the public were to know the REAL details of the contract , they no longer can use the excuse "government cannot subsidise".

Mind you the documents have been leaked out and the contract DOES portray the above terms/condition and scenario. The semi value minster has offered NO valid reason why it needs to be classified other than his rather lame :-
"When the document is declared an official secret document, it is official secret document" (duh)

QUOTE
I repeat what I've been saying for ages in this thread: contracts being secret is common, and therefore the government keeping the highway contracts under the OSA and enforcing it does not automatically mean that there is something sinister afoot. Why do people keep ignoring this simple reality


Are you SURE there's no corruption and that there's nothing sinister in the contract the government is trying to hide?

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post Feb 5 2007, 10:44 AM
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QUOTE(spanker @ Feb 5 2007, 08:35 AM)
Yes, of course it is, we had come across it many times. For instance, one had forgo their allegiance to the government to uncover classified secrets,(Deep Throat), a riot took place to bring police beating to the next level (Rodney King), and some others.

You doubted their intention because you believe their action is "flimsy", I said they are fighting to disclose a secret which had exploited the everyday malaysian for over a decade. It's like how Robin Hood is a criminal to some, and a hero to others.


Yes, but the big thing is that those cases were cases where the whistleblowers were ultimately proven correct. The historical acceptability of those actions were dependent on the fact that the premise they were backing was proven correct. Deep Throat's breach of trust remained wrong until it was proven that he had a very good reason to break that trust. Robin Hood remained a criminal until Richard himself pardoned him because he determined that Robin was correct and Prince John et al were in error. Had they been wrong, however - had Deep Throat's allegations turned out to be untrue, for example, or had John's seizure of Robin's estate been lawful - it is highly doubtful that history would've viewed them all in a positive light.

I'm holding the three to the same standard. Everyone else seems to have judged prematurely that they must have been correct, that their actions must have been, as you say, "'noble".

QUOTE
Yeah, same person, wrong name. My mistake there.


Then I don't see the relevance of the case to your criticism of me being cynical about the motives of the three.

QUOTE
Ok if you want an explanation, how about keeping the agreement under OSA is a threat to national security? With such lack of transparency and growing dissent, and amidst public protests, there can be 2 outcomes: An escalation of public unrest due to govt apathy; and more stringent Official Secret Acts to provide harsher punishments and to discourage transparency.


Your idea that keeping the highway agreements under the OSA is a threat to national security is made on the basis that certain portions of the nation are going on the protest route to get them out, hence instability and so on. The catch is that


QUOTE
Just because they're not good at espionage doesn't mean they can't be right.


No, but I'm criticising them for being poor enough at spycraft to render their actions, if they were right, moot and even detrimental to their own cause.


QUOTE
The JFK conspiracy took years to process in court, not to mention another few years following up on leads. So really I can't accept your point because if I were to fish out official secrets and I want to prove that there are hanky pankies, I'd need time to follow up and verify on conditions stated in the contract.


I don't recall a proven JFK conspiracy. We're talking Harvey Lee Oswald and stuff, right?

In any case, it would be time well spent had you actually waited to verify that you were correct before declaring that you had broken the law to blow the whistle. Deep Throat knew he was correct before going to the reporters (primarily because he was part of it).


QUOTE
All the more reason to believe they are really putting pressure for disclosure.


Yes, yes. The point I was trying to make is that in general we are bad at maintaining that pressure, and this is an exception to the rule.

But please, don't expect four protests to result in the government caving in; they are, after all, aware of precisely the same thing I mentioned, and we've been giving them many many years of experience that it is true. Expect that it will take a lot more protests before the government actually starts doing something.


QUOTE
It IS an excuse. With protests consisting of hundreds and even over a thousand protestors, what we see in the newspapers is just a short 200 word paragraph, with no mentions in the TV media. It's hard to fuel public interest when the message doesn't get out.


Now you're giving a different excuse, and one that is equally unacceptable. Protests in the region of the hundreds and thousands - assuming that you are correct in your count - have a way of making it out even with poor media coverage. Recall the Reformasi movement and the related protest/riots in the KL area in 1998; that was before the Internet was used as an alternate media source, yet word of it still got out enough that public awareness on the issues they were trying to point to never really disappeared.


QUOTE
No, OSA gives govt the power to prosecute. Without OSA, everything is fair game. It's like allowing radar detectors to sense speed traps.


Urgh. My mistake for putting those two premises in the same paragraph and hence confusing you.

Yes, the OSA gives the power to prosecute. Lack of an OSA or similar law means that having all these nice top secret classifications becomes purely decorative: there is no legal action that can stop, discourage and stem instances where top secret documents get leaked out. As you say, everything would be fair game, but the problem is that everything would be fair game, including valid state secrets that would now have no legal teeth with which to charge actual captured spies or traitors. Consider the effect to national security if there was no OSA at all.

And in the scenario you describe where there is no OSA but there are still classifications that would be used to keep the real secrets, people can always define things that don't actually belong in the Top Secret classification as Top Secret, which doesn't solve the alleged problem of government hanky-panky being hidden in the guise of state secrets.


QUOTE
Ok, now here's your flaw.
1. You completely disregarded that Sami Vellu made the announcement that the RM2 billion subsidy was to cover traffic shortfall.

2. There's no proof (because it's illegal to get proof) that says the toll subsidy is to make up what we don't pay them.


I don't recall that he said that. What I do recall is that he said that the tolls would go up to make up for the traffic shortfall, and that RM 2 billion is being paid to subsidise the toll fares for Malaysians, and this is what your quoted article actually said. Pity that the Star Online doesn't keep stuff beyond 30 days or that neither of us thought to quote the article in full, because it'd have settled this point immediately now. But our lack of foresight aside, what that means - and note that I'm repeating something that I concluded back when it was still possible to read the entire article, which you didn't counterargue - is that the RM 2 billion figure cannot be used in the way that you ultimately chose to use it. Your initial use of it was arguably correct; from the RM 2 billion subsidy, we can estimate that there are 900,000 to 1.41 million cars whose tolls are being subsidised (probably more). But your final step of multiplying that figure by eight to get an expected traffic projection is wrong, because that subsidy subsidises 100% of the 80% of the traffic projection that goes through the plazas, not 20% of that 80% and certainly not 100% of the 20% of the traffic projection that don't.

It is accounted for.


And there is no proof is required because there is always the definition of what a subsidy is: a government stipend to cover part of the cost of something so that the public pays less.


QUOTE
Because if there is, it'd be declared by the PWD, but it's not. The best indication that we have is the toll rates in the appendix. Now surely if the rates are in the appendix section of the agreement, there's really no obligation to abide by it, no?


It doesn't matter where in the agreement any toll rates are. As long as it is in part of the agreement, then it remains binding. Contracts include the appendices that accompany them.


QUOTE
The reason for the multiplier to be there is to disprove whatever BS story concocted by Sami, and to discredit his reason for increasing toll rates.


And the multiplier, as I said, has no validity. Just because it happens to create results that match what you expect doesn't mean that it must be correct; that's bad science and logic there.

QUOTE
No it's not, that is the very basic point provided by the PWD for the subsidy, which I believe I put a link to that announcement.


And I explained yet again why it's wrong.


QUOTE
To me it is addressed but it is not accepted by you because you don't think the fundamental argument here is the very quote that the RM2 billion subsidy is to cover the traffic shortfall. I'm just working on what is already public.
*
Recall that I pointed out exactly what was already public, from the source that you were working from. I'm not making any reference to any extra documents or statements, just what you quoted. There is no mention of the RM 2 billion being used to make up for the shortfall, but there is mention of it being a toll subsidy. What you've done is to parse the separate stated fact in the article that the RM 2 billion is a toll subsidy and the separate stated fact in the article that there will be compensation for the traffic shortfall and come up with the idea that the RM 2 billion subsidy is a direct compensation to make up for the traffic shortfall.


QUOTE(Drian @ Feb 5 2007, 10:04 AM)
You are assuming that the contracts are placed under official secrets act because of business reasons.


And it is a reasonable assumption, because contracts are normally made private and confidential in the industry due to business reasons.

QUOTE
What if the contracts are placed due to:-

  a.) Not wanting the public to know that the government has offered a contract
that guaranteed profits to concessionaires at the expense of road users.
  b.) Not wanting the public to know that the contract offered is ridiculous and it benefits more towards the highway concessionaires rather than the tax payers.
c.) Not wanting the public to know why the subsidies are  higher than the cost of building the roads.
d.) If the public were to know the REAL details of the contract , they no longer can use the excuse "government cannot subsidise".

  Mind you the documents have been leaked out and the contract DOES portray the above terms/condition and scenario.


Wrong. All the contract can actually portray is the fact that the contract guarantees profits to the concessionaires (which is reasonable, considering that we are talking about contracts that involve high construction costs, running costs that are subject to volatile basic necessity prices as well as traffic variability and many other risks that would have discouraged companies from signing on had there been no mitigation of those risks in the contract). Everything that you said beyond that is speculation on your part.


QUOTE
The semi value minster has offered NO valid reason why it needs to be classified other than his rather lame :-
"When the document is declared an official secret document, it is official secret document" (duh)


Lame? Maybe; after all, Samy Vellu is not known for the eloquence of his statements. But it is very correct. "Official secret document" means that it protected by law and hence there are consequences to nicking them without due reason.


QUOTE
Are you SURE there's no corruption and that there's nothing sinister in the contract the government is trying to hide?
*
No, and I don't disregard the possibility that there may be. But I don't disregard the possibility that there may not be either. That is what objectivity is all about.

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post Feb 5 2007, 10:48 AM
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post Feb 5 2007, 10:57 AM
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QUOTE
All the contract can actually portray is the fact that the contract guarantees profits to the concessionaires (which is reasonable, considering that we are talking about contracts that involve high construction costs, running costs that are subject to volatile basic necessity prices as well as traffic variability and many other risks that would have discouraged companies from signing on had there been no mitigation of those risks in the contract). Everything that you said beyond that is speculation on your part.


Do you mean to say that government that guarentees a private business profit using tax payers money is reasonable? You mean a government who agrees to pay compensation worth more than cost of the highway is reasonable? Wow a business without risk, that's good.




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post Feb 5 2007, 11:28 AM
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QUOTE(Drian @ Feb 5 2007, 10:57 AM)
Do you mean to say that government that guarentees a private business profit using tax payers money is reasonable? You mean a government who agrees to pay compensation worth more than cost of the highway is reasonable? Wow a business without risk, that's good.
*
I mean to say that a contract that mitigates the risk for a very risky venture is not unusual. That is not the same as there being no risk at all; there should be, for example, clauses that state that the mitigation of that risk is dependent on whether the risk is unavoidable or whether it was incurred due to the signatory's own fault, which basically means that if they screwed up, there would be no mitigation of the risks resultant from that.

Outside of that, it's all perfectly reasonable and fair. Remember that ultimately the highways are supposed to return to state control - Samy Vellu effectively said so by declaring that the tolls for the particular highways involved in this current issue would last only into the 2010s. That means that the spending of the state money now means that the roads are kept in good condition, and it should (according to theory) reduce any excuse for the concessionaires to ask for the contract to be extended, because the compensations remove the need for them to have more time to make up for the losses that were allegedly due to incompetence in the JKR or something in the estimation of traffic usage. And also remember that if - IF - the compensation is warranted, then there is no real significance to the total compensation being worth more than the total construction costs outside of blind rhetoric.
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post Feb 5 2007, 12:26 PM
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Taxes were supposed to be used for building infrastructure, especially crucial basic stuff like roads, but in Malaysia, taxes are used to subsidize cronies with fat contracting projects, and the public must pay again and again everyday to make up for the money these road-building companies forked out to make the roads.

The tax payer cum road user is screwed twice, if you complain about this state of affairs, you'll be hauled to Bukit Aman for violating the OSA. You are expected to pay tax, subsidize Istana Zakarias, pay tol and stfu.

Why can't roads be a basic public utility? Why must they transform it into a profit maximizing get rich quick scheme?
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post Feb 5 2007, 12:27 PM
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QUOTE(Drian @ Feb 5 2007, 10:57 AM)
Do you mean to say that government that guarentees a private business profit using tax payers money is reasonable? You mean a government who agrees to pay compensation worth more than cost of the highway is reasonable? Wow a business without risk, that's good.
*
Drian,

It is actually very simple. You have government controlled by a ruling party negotiating and entering contract to a company that owned by the same ruling party. And, the contract is secret and not subjected to review by any outsider. Do you see a problem here?? There is a serious conflict of interest here. There may or may not be wrong doing here.

Dreamer
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post Feb 5 2007, 01:08 PM
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QUOTE(dreamer101 @ Feb 5 2007, 12:27 PM)
Drian,

It is actually very simple.  You have government controlled by a ruling party negotiating and entering contract to a company that owned by the same ruling party.  And, the contract is secret and not subjected to review by any outsider.  Do you see a problem here??   There is a serious conflict of interest here.  There may or may not be wrong doing here. 

Dreamer
*
I have to ask questions to know where littlefox stands and how he view certain things. It's rather obvious that if the contract was made public, it would cause havoc. It would ruin BN's reputation and have a black and white proof that the government is more concern in ensuring profits in thier crony companies at the expense of tax payers money. The government will not be able to do anything because it is black and white and it was even admitted by Dr M himself that certain terms and condition was overlooked in the contract.

Do you realise that the governemnt is quick to defend itself when the allegation against it is not true but keep very silent/use OSA/ scare tactics/stupid replys when they are the guilty party. For eg:- the purchase of yacht, the financing of 9MP , the government was quick in defending itself as seen in the star. However when it comes to the toll issues, ASLI research, they couldn't give any defense except lame replies like "OSA is OSA" or "par value is used because market value fluctuates with time".


Added on February 5, 2007, 1:25 pm
QUOTE(littlefox @ Feb 5 2007, 11:28 AM)
I mean to say that a contract that mitigates the risk for a very risky venture is not unusual. That is not the same as there being no risk at all; there should be, for example, clauses that state that the mitigation of that risk is dependent on whether the risk is unavoidable or whether it was incurred due to the signatory's own fault, which basically means that if they screwed up, there would be no mitigation of the risks resultant from that.

Outside of that, it's all perfectly reasonable and fair. Remember that ultimately the highways are supposed to return to state control - Samy Vellu effectively said so by declaring that the tolls for the particular highways involved in this current issue would last only into the 2010s. That means that the spending of the state money now means that the roads are kept in good condition, and it should (according to theory) reduce any excuse for the concessionaires to ask for the contract to be extended, because the compensations remove the need for them to have more time to make up for the losses that were allegedly due to incompetence in the JKR or something in the estimation of traffic usage. And also remember that if - IF - the compensation is warranted, then there is no real significance to the total compensation being worth more than the total construction costs outside of blind rhetoric.
*
Yah IF the compensation warranted. What if the governemnt doesn't want you to find it out and put it under OSA. You see the problem here?


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post Feb 5 2007, 01:31 PM
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QUOTE(Polaris @ Feb 5 2007, 12:26 PM)
Taxes were supposed to be used for building infrastructure, especially crucial basic stuff like roads, but in Malaysia, taxes are used to subsidize cronies with fat contracting projects, and the public must pay again and again everyday to make up for the money these road-building companies forked out to make the roads.

The tax payer cum road user is screwed twice, if you complain about this state of affairs, you'll be hauled to Bukit Aman for violating the OSA. You are expected to pay tax, subsidize Istana Zakarias, pay tol and stfu.

Why can't roads be a basic public utility? Why must they transform it into a profit maximizing get rich quick scheme?
*
Sigh.

There is a major difference between building roadways and building highways and that is basically cost. The system used in the highway concessions means that the government has to pay only a minimal amount compared to the total cost of the project, which would actually be borne by the concessionaire. That is why the highways are tolled: the toll gives the concessionaire a way to recoup their money that was used in building the highway. For a highway that would cost RM 5 billion in the middle of an urbanised area like most of the Klang Valley near Kuala Lumpur, for example, that means that the government would not be paying that RM 5 billion, which could easily go into building more than one stretch of road elsewhere in the nation. Your taxes, therefore, are still going into the public roads.

Now, since the paths of these highways are already set by the government and only takes into account the need to balance out the tolls gathered and the construction/running costs as an afterthought at best, nobody in their right mind would agree to joining a contract to build that highway without some kind of guarantee that they won't get screwed over during the "own and operate" phase of the contract. There are highways, as have been mentioned in this thread, that are currently very very scantly used, but were commissioned in the view that it would bring growth to the areas serviced, and these will lead to losses that can possibly, in combination with the volatile prices of materials and necessities like oil (which is not subsidised for industries, as I recall), lead to the company becoming bankrupt. That is why there are clauses that help to ensure that that will not happen in the form of allowance for increases in tolls and compensation if the expected projections do not match reality and hence threaten the viability of the company.

What I think a lot of you don't understand is that building and running highways is a risky business as well as being potentially profitable and comfortable. Consequently, you all don't see the logic of having these clauses and view them as unfairly benefitting the company to the detriment of the government and rakyat.

And you're thinking about the ISA, not the OSA. The Official Secrets Act only comes into play when you take documents protected under the act without authorisation. It's the Internal Security Act that can be used to detain you for demonstrations and the like.


QUOTE(dreamer101)
Drian,

It is actually very simple. You have government controlled by a ruling party negotiating and entering contract to a company that owned by the same ruling party. And, the contract is secret and not subjected to review by any outsider. Do you see a problem here?? There is a serious conflict of interest here. There may or may not be wrong doing here.

Dreamer


The fact that a particular concessionaire might be linked to the government in some way should not mean that these clauses should be removed from contracts involving them, because that link to the government sure as hell doesn't remove the risks mentioned or mitigate them in any way.


QUOTE(Drian)
I have to ask questions to know where littlefox stands and how he view certain things.


Understable. It's easy to let the rather untrue pop image of me being mindlessly pro-BN cloud the fact that I don't support the toll rise because the government has failed to properly justify it, and that I've advocated that we should be working towards getting the tolls over and done with instead of trying to automatically protest increases. Since I'm very much big on rules and laws and am leaning towards socialist-authoritarian in my politics, I don't view the act of whistleblowing with automatic awe, because I'm aware that wolf-whistleblowing can be more detrimental to the cause than useful and because whistleblowing tends to involve breaking laws and confidences, but I recognise that the uunsavoury activities that can accompany whistleblowing, if proven true, can and have been pardoned if they were proven right.

Does all that help?


QUOTE
It's rather obvious that if the contract was made public, it would cause havoc.


It would only cause havoc now because certain quarters have made sure that that is the sort of reaction that a fair amount of people will have. Prior to all these protestations and stealing of OSA-protected documents and the subsequent legal actions and all the repeated propaganda that primed the public with the idea that any and all clauses that benefit the concessionaires must be detrimental to the people, it wouldn't have. Frankly speaking, I wouldn't blame the government if they try to stick to their guns and keep the agreements secret, because what you say regarding how people would react is true, and they're not stupid.

QUOTE
It would ruin BN's reputation and have a black and white proof that the government is more concern in ensuring profits in thier crony companies at the expense of tax payers money. The government will not be able to do anything because it is black and white and it was even admitted by Dr M himself that certain terms and condition was overlooked in the contract.


Okay, right now I feel lazy, so mind giving me a link to where Dr M says that? i would like to see what he actually said myself before commenting.

QUOTE
Yah IF the compensation warranted. What if the governemnt doesn't want you to find it out and put it under OSA. You see the problem here?


No, because there are other ways to determine if the compensation is warranted. spanker, as you know, tried to determine it by looking at the traffic volumes the stated compensations and subsidies imply and extrapolate from that. Yeah, in my opinion, he slipped up in the actual workings, but he was on the right track regarding how to go about it. And, of course, Samy Vellu can always come out and say why the tolls are being increased and why the compensation is warranted without actually referring to the documents, and we can and have disputed his tagline by questioning his explanations and their premises.

What, you think that the only way to determine if the compensation is or isn't warranted is to look at the contract itself?

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post Feb 5 2007, 02:49 PM
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QUOTE
There is a major difference between building roadways and building highways and that is basically cost. The system used in the highway concessions means that the government has to pay only a minimal amount compared to the total cost of the project, which would actually be borne by the concessionaire. That is why the highways are tolled: the toll gives the concessionaire a way to recoup their money that was used in building the highway. For a highway that would cost RM 5 billion in the middle of an urbanised area like most of the Klang Valley near Kuala Lumpur, for example, that means that the government would not be paying that RM 5 billion, which could easily go into building more than one stretch of road elsewhere in the nation. Your taxes, therefore, are still going into the public roads.


Yah but what if the subsidy paid is higher than the cost of building the highway itself. Since there is no transparency, for all u know, highway operators might be earning 100s of million in a year nett profit.


QUOTE
Now, since the paths of these highways are already set by the government and only takes into account the need to balance out the tolls gathered and the construction/running costs as an afterthought at best, nobody in their right mind would agree to joining a contract to build that highway without some kind of guarantee that they won't get screwed over during the "own and operate" phase of the contract. There are highways, as have been mentioned in this thread, that are currently very very scantly used, but were commissioned in the view that it would bring growth to the areas serviced, and these will lead to losses that can possibly, in combination with the volatile prices of materials and necessities like oil (which is not subsidised for industries, as I recall), lead to the company becoming bankrupt. That is why there are clauses that help to ensure that that will not happen in the form of allowance for increases in tolls and compensation if the expected projections do not match reality and hence threaten the viability of the company.


You mean if the highway operators make a mistake in the expected projections, and the government has to compensate them? Wow the perks of being a crony, 90% of the risk is being transfered to the government. It's like you open a shop, and if the revenue in a year does not match the projected revenue, the govt will compensate you. Cool.



QUOTE
What I think a lot of you don't understand is that building and running highways is a risky business as well as being potentially profitable and comfortable. Consequently, you all don't see the logic of having these clauses and view them as unfairly benefitting the company to the detriment of the government and rakyat.


Well with the kind of contract that you have shown, it is very highly potentially profitable when most of the risk are being absorbed by the govt.


QUOTE
It would only cause havoc now because certain quarters have made sure that that is the sort of reaction that a fair amount of people will have. Prior to all these protestations and stealing of OSA-protected documents and the subsequent legal actions and all the repeated propaganda that primed the public with the idea that any and all clauses that benefit the concessionaires must be detrimental to the people, it wouldn't have. Frankly speaking, I wouldn't blame the government if they try to stick to their guns and keep the agreements secret, because what you say regarding how people would react is true, and they're not stupid.


Well, with such contracts given to highway operators, I wouldn't be surprised that people will feel shortchanged. In the current situation and current clause, it is detrimental to the people.


QUOTE
Okay, right now I feel lazy, so mind giving me a link to where Dr M says that? i would like to see what he actually said myself before commenting.


http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/61822

I remember reading it before in another forum. However I'm not a suscriber to malaysiakini and hence can't provide you the full article.


QUOTE
No, because there are other ways to determine if the compensation is warranted. spanker, as you know, tried to determine it by looking at the traffic volumes the stated compensations and subsidies imply and extrapolate from that. Yeah, in my opinion, he slipped up in the actual workings, but he was on the right track regarding how to go about it. And, of course, Samy Vellu can always come out and say why the tolls are being increased and why the compensation is warranted without actually referring to the documents, and we can and have disputed his tagline by questioning his explanations and their premises
.

You mentioned looking at traffic volume. Is there any and official figures given and how transparent is it ?

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post Feb 5 2007, 03:12 PM
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some movie link from malaysiakini

mms://screen.malaysiakini.tv/4FebPuchongDemo.wmv

mms://screen.malaysiakini.tv/4FebPuchongDemo2.wmv
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post Feb 5 2007, 03:26 PM
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QUOTE(Drian @ Feb 5 2007, 02:49 PM)
Yah but what if the subsidy paid is higher than the cost of building the highway itself. Since there is no transparency, for all u know, highway operators might be earning 100s of million in a year nett profit.


Those are two somewhat unrelated points so I'll address them one by one:

QUOTE
Yah but what if the subsidy paid is higher than the cost of building the highway itself.


It doesn't necessarily matter if the toll subsidy paid is higher than the cost of building the highway because building the highway is only part of the cost that the concessionaire incurs throughout the whole contract. If the toll subsidy paid is higher, that basically means that there are more vehicles coming through than the projection (which can be both good and bad). But I don't think you were talking about toll subsidies and were referring to compensations.

So, does it matter if the total compensation is higher than the total cost of building the highway? Not necessarily. It would depend on what exactly the compensations were for and hence whether they are warranted. If the large part of the compensation is due to, say, a sudden catastrophic rise in world oil prices due to a huge nuclear war in the Middle East and hence reduces the volume of traffic going through, then you can't really blame either the concessionaire or the government - it's a valid compensation because we're talking something that is beyond normal expectations. But if we are, to take another example, talking about erronuous government traffic projections being the major cause, then the government would have a helluva lot to answer for, because they slipped up and had to use taxpayer money to compensate the losses to the concessionaire because of that mistake. The concessionaire, in such a case, shouldn't be held to blame, and neither would the clause that allows this somehow be considered corruption, because it's pretty fair - one side screws up something that affects the deal, and so that side has to make amends. Conversely, let's say that the concessionaire's reason for asking for compensation/assistance from the government is based on the fact that they are taking serious losses despite there being the correct number of cars using the highway and that there is no crazy economic catastrophe going on, then the compensation should be refused because it isn't the government's fault that the concessionaire management screwed up.

Of course, there's a bit of grey area that we can go through. We can, for example, argue that the nuclear warfare scenario should not result in compensation because it isn't the government's fault. We can also argue that there should be some compensation in the crappy concessionaire management scenario in the interests of keeping the company above board. We can make counterarguments to those. It's not truly black and white, as you can see, and that's why construction contract law specialist lawyers make a lot of money.

So, in a nutshell, the question of whether it matters that the compensation paid is greater than the construction cost of the highway is a very vehement "depends".


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Since there is no transparency, for all u know, highway operators might be earning 100s of million in a year nett profit.


That's true. But then I do know that some highway operators do list their earnings like any other listed company, hence allowing us to know how much they're making. So this impression of yours might not exactly match what happens in real life.


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You mean if the highway operators make a mistake in the expected projections, and the government has to compensate them?


No. I mean that if the government made a major mistake in the expected projections, then the highway operators should rightfully be compensated, as their calculations for budgeting and so on would've been reliant on those figures as supplied by the government. Of course, if it was the highway operators that came up with the figures, then they shouldn't be compensated for screwing up.


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Well with the kind of contract that you have shown, it is very highly potentially profitable when most of the risk are being absorbed by the govt.

Well, with such contracts given to highway operators, I wouldn't be surprised that people will feel shortchanged. In the current situation and current clause, it is detrimental to the people.


Not so. Remember that the compensation of that risk is normally dependent, as with all contracts, on whether the risk was avoidable or something that one of the two signatories caused due to their incompetence. The question as it relates to the highway concession contracts is just how far this basic principle of contract drafting was held on to.

And remember that Mat Rakyat is hugely unaware of the basics of construction contracts anyway, hence making it easy for people with interests to mislead them on the matter, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Certainly, the understanding of contracts that most of this thread exhibits illustrates this point quite well. So, the second question is just how much this public impression of the clausess of the highway contracts actually fits what is considered common and acceptable as per standard contractual law.


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http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/61822

I remember reading it before in another forum. However I'm not a suscriber to malaysiakini and hence can't provide you the full article.


It's a pity, because it is very difficult to determine anything from that. But judging from the section blurbs, apparently Dr M's argument revolves around traffic volume. It would be interesting to see what his numbers are; a vague "has increased several fold" is not much use in terms of making objective judgements. I don't see anything there that suggests that he said that the clauses and conditions of the contract were wrongly drawn up at the time; it does suggest that he advocates renegotiating the contracts to account for the new state of things that may have differed from how things were expected to be back then.


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You mentioned looking at traffic volume. Is there any  and official figures given and how transparent is it ?
*
To my knowledge, no. Or, rather, I haven't actually bothered trying to look for them. Jabatan Kerja Raya should have that data, but that might not be complete depending on the area (this is something I know from experience dealing with them asking for exactly that data for work). Another potential source would be the relevant municipal or city councils, although most of them do rely on JKR data. A third source people can try would be land development companies - it's not uncommon for them to do their own traffic counts to estimate just how much cars would be coming in to their brand new spanking elite housing estate from the nearest highway.

All that data would be pretty official (JKR, when lacking traffic census data, suggests that you do your own and usually also asks for a copy, which means that third-party data would be acceptable), and it's pretty transparent. They're not things protected by the OSA or other laws.
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