Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha must call off immediately the Automated Enforcement System (AES) to catch speeding motorists or resign as the transport minister, the DAP demanded today, riding the wave of opposition against the unpopular traffic enforcement system that is swiftly turning into a political quagmire for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).
The MCA man has become the AES’ most vocal proponent, after two firms were awarded the lucrative contract that has the government privatising the country’s traffic enforcement system, ramping up widespread suspicion that its introduction is motivated by profits and not road safety.
“Kong should therefore either suspend the AES 1Malaysia cameras immediately or resign, as it is shocking and unthinkable that we have such a ‘know nothing, do nothing’ minister who would rather knowingly support something that has caused great public unhappiness,” DAP secretary-general, Lim Guan Eng, said in a statement today.
He noted that the system results in a “sweetheart deal” for two private companies who get a cut of every speeding summons issued from a total 831 cameras installed nationwide.
Lim took issue with Kong’s response to the allegations in merely shrugging it off and saying he had no responsibility, obligation or interest to know the identity and background of those involved.
“This profit-sharing agreement is clearly not in the public interest and done solely for the private profiteering of BN crony companies,” the Bagan MP said.
The two firms awarded the contract to implement the enforcement system — ATES Sdn Bhd and Beta Tegap — will spend between RM300 million and RM400 million each to set up traffic cameras at 831 “black spots” nationwide.
Both ATES and Beta Tegap are entitled to RM16 per valid summons for the first five million issued. They will then split the remaining revenue evenly with the government up to a cap of RM270 million each.
The firms will each receive 7.5 per cent from the remaining revenue and the government will keep the rest.
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties have suggested that the companies are linked to the MCA and Umno but this has been vehemently denied.
The Malaysian Insider reported today that Putrajaya’s insistence on going ahead with the AES is seeing growing resistance from Umno grassroots with a blog and Facebook account set up this week to oppose the speed cameras, which could unite voters behind the federal opposition against the ruling BN at the 13th general elections due soon.
A number of BN politicians are also becoming worried about it becoming a major campaign issue in the next general election, and want the government to suspend the AES.
While Kong and other government leaders have been defending AES in the name of road safety, the two companies concerned have kept silent about the controversial cameras.
The business model being used for the outsourcing of enforcement has also led to suspicions that the companies operating the AES will be motivated to issue more speeding tickets rather than ensure motorists slow down.
A whopping 2.72 million speeding tickets will have to be issued in each of the next five years for the two concession holders of the controversial AES cameras to just recoup their reported RM700 million investments.
And considering the authorities had only collected an average of about 25 per cent of all traffic summonses a year — which increased to 65 per cent only after a general discount was offered last year — the two companies will have to issue far more summonses to account for the poor collection.
To hit the RM700 million break-even mark, a total of 13.6 million summonses of RM300 each for speeding and other major offences will have to be issued via the AES cameras.
The two companies will have five years to get to the 13.6 million summonses break-even point before the entire system reverts to the government.
To ensure the companies profit from the deal with the government, they will almost certainly have to issue more than 13.6 million summonses.
Assuming the two companies were targeting a total profit of RM100 million after five years, calculations show they would have issue up to 18.2 million summonses in five years.
According to federal estimates for Budget 2013, the government expects to see an additional RM1.02 billion in revenue from its share of AES enforcement, but it has not stated how much will be paid out to the two companies.
There is also growing concern among BN politicians that insisting on the AES could prove costly to BN in the next elections which must be called in the next six months.
Last week, Umno MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin crossed the political divide and backed the opposition PR pact in calling for Putrajaya to suspend enforcing the AES, saying it could be used as campaign fodder against the ruling BN.
Bung Mokhtar, a seasoned Umno lawmaker, is the most senior member of the ruling coalition after Umno Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin to urge the federal government to delay the newly-introduced traffic enforcement system.
Kedah, Penang, Kelantan and Selangor ― all governed by PR ― have decided to suspend approval for the AES that detects speeding motorists and issues fines.
Several influential non-government organisations including the umbrella body representing civil servants, Cuepacs, have also opposed the enforcement, saying the system was not currently suitable. They also want the government to review the locations where the AES would operate.
If the Minister is a "know nothing, do nothing" gaji buta minister, then save the raykat money, there is no need for this minister's post lah. MCA, now become MCMA. Make Chinese More Angry. Do we need another reason to vote out BN. BN is finding any which way they can to milk money.
There are some diehard supporters of who say "speeding is speeding". Think about, who controls the tuning of the meters? This AES makes RM16 per summon. So, they can tune the meter, even if travel at 60km/hr, it will generate a summon that you exceeded the speed limit of 110km/hr. It is bright daylight robbery. Either these diehard supporters are BN supporters who stand to benefit or they are shareholders of these two companies.
This idiot should shut his mouth and look at the mirror. He as a Transport Minister does nothing to stop lorries and buses from spraying black smoke to the environment, instead he chose to close his eyes and thinking that the public are so stupid to listen to his stupid advice. Lorries are endangering motorcyclist from spilling sands and small rocks when they ignore the safety measures from overloading their loads. What is this joker doing? Sleeping on his job?????? He should be sack as he fail his duty badly as a Minister.
AES should only be placed at high risk area and road users should be notified of the existence of a speed camera such that they would slow down to the safe speed limit.
There is no point of placing a speed camera at accident-prone spots while not properly 'advising' the road users to slow their vehicle down. At such, the purpose of AES is for monetary profits rather than saving lives.
Name me any leader in the country who is not greedy. So sick of reading news like this everyday.