Friday, September 22, 2017

TOLL could be abolished - Revise or terminate PLUS Agreement (possible when government and EPF owns PLUS) now

Have we been deceived by the UMNO-BN government about tols, and how it had to be increased by reason of pressure from the Highway operators...well, interestingly, it is revealed that the company PLUS  is owned by the government vide Khazanah, and the EPF. How many other highway operators? 

Tol on PLUS Highway can be extinguished NOW - as PLUS is now owned by UEM(owned by Khazanah) - 51%, and EPF(48%).

The AGREEMENTS have been kept 'secret' for too long - Malaysians do not know what is the agreement about tol collection - how long will it last? How much more will it increase and when? The reason given is that money is needed for Highway Maintenance - but now that another PRIVATE company is interested in acquiring PLUS, it must be a profitable agreement ...

If PLUS is taken over by PRIVATE companies, then they can continue to rely on the right to collect TOL ...and we do not know for how long. BUT now, the owners of PLUS (Government and EPF) can be convinced to 'terminate' this agreement - and no more TOL, or at least vary this agreement so that TOL can be reduced, and collections will be for a definite time period.


Is it just to pay for the maintenance cost of these Highways  - then TELL us what exactly is the annual/monthly maintenance cost...and how much tol is collected every month/year? I am confident that amount collected is far more than the amount needed to maintain the highway - it is VERY profitable...for EPF to be a 49% owner - given that EPF's primary object is to ensure high profits for it's about 14 million worker contributors monies in EPF ...

Is it to recover the COST of building the Highway? Well, tell us what was the cost, and how much more needs to be recovered? Did not the government of Malaysia pay for the building of the Highway - so what cost are they trying to recover? Or is it the government of Malaysia trying to recover cost of building the Highway...tell us the TRUTH - be transparent.

If it is only maintenance, would it not be better to just outsource different portions of the highway to smaller Malaysian companies to provide maintenance services? OR is it not better for the government of Malaysia (Federal and/or State) to maintain the roads and highways using public servants - as was done in the past? That will return full control of public roads and highways to the government.

SLIM RIVER TOLL - that is an example to follow. There tol was collected until the cost was recovered, and then there was no more toll collections - that should be policy that should be adopted...NOT A CONTINOUS MONEY MAKING FROM PEOPLE policy.

I believe many Malaysians will be OK to pay tol to recover cost of building, and maybe regular maintenance - but we need to know HOW MUCH money need to be recovered, and how much is collected annually...and the balance every year.

Who gets these 'road maintenance' contracts - are they charging reasonable prices for the road maintenance, or are they charging exceedingly high rates - which is not uncommon when 'crony' companies are involved, which may also involve 'kleptocracy'...Open short term(1-3 years) for shorter stretches of the highway will be more competitive and cheaper... Maintenance of the highway could be given to the local governments(Local Councils) or even State - and at the Federal Level, we could simply have the Highway Authority setting standards and ensuring that roads/highways are maintained in accordance with the standards set with regard to speed, efficiency and quality. Those who fail in carrying out of the contract would be liable to fines and damages(and even prison term if fraud or some other crime is involved), and such contract could be terminated and allocated to new entities...  

Long term contracts (for more than 5 years) are extremely dangerous - and weakens government ability of control and ensuring best compliance -- When government tries to end the contract, then government forced to pay unnecessarily large compensations... Things becomes even more complicated for Malaysia, when these companies are owned by foreign nationals/entities, even in part - which cannot be restricted especially when the company is listed in the share market?? Then, there will other implications that came in as a result of Trade Agreements and Treaties.

The efficiency of government-owned, and/or 'linked' companies(GLCs) comes into question when this UMNO-BN government simply chooses 'friends', 'cronies' , etc to be Chairman of the Board, Directors ...even CEOs, who do not have the required skill and knowledge to be involved in that particular business. Former IGP appointed to be Chairman of Prasarana(a company involved in the transport industry)...Isa Samad in FGV...

In business, we need persons skilled in that particular business or in business generally to be Directors and CEOs... Malaysia would not have won so many Gold Medals at the recent SEA Games if the government used similar policies for choosing athletes representing they are now doing for Directors and CEOs of government owned/controlled businesses...

MAS, PROTON, ...all also suffered losses... sad when Malaysia's Air Asia can be such a successful budget airline in the region. We have the persons with the requisite skills in business but Malaysia's UMNO-BN fails to use them....

I do not mind, and I do not think many Malaysians will mind if EPF takes over PLUS and make massive profits - because this will go to helping workers have more savings in EPF - that will be used to help them in their old age. Now, we know that the current EPF monies is insufficient to sustain the livelihood of Malaysian workers after they stop working and earning until they die...This is a major problem in the the number of elderly is rising..

Mahathir started with the making of more rich 'Bumiputras' - but that was stupid for the rich Malays are not sharing their monies with the poorer Malays and other poor Malaysians. 
Najib talks about making Malaysia a 'high income' nation - but he is not really talking about increasing the income of all Malaysians and their families. 60 years in government, and still we find that there are so many poor people in Malaysia ...Even the FELDA settlers, who should have become financially self sustaining by now are still indebted and require government welfarism ...Lazy settlers..or poor government advise and practices?

Cost of living has to be controlled - and basic amenities like electricity, water, sewage treatment, radio/TV, telecommunication, education, healthcare, roads and public transport costs have to stay very low or better still 'FREE' for the majority of Malaysians, who are poor and cannot survive with the income they earn currently. Price Control for basic food items must be re-introduced. Failing which, the growing poor in Malaysia will not survive...whilst the few rich grow in prosperity and wealth. 

Najib must be reminded that the number of BR1M receipients is an indication of the failure of the UMNO-BN, and Malaysia needs help now - not the US. ...

So, back to TOL - now, the agreement with PLUS can be reviewed and amended, or even terminated as PLUS is still owned by Malaysian government and the EPF...

PLUS should not be allowed to be acquired by some other PRIVATE company ...We have most likely already lost DRB HICOM and even Proton, and possibly also POS Malaysia...because the ownership now is with private persons and companies, no more with government or government agencies...owning significant majority shareholding...

Government(Executive - PM and Cabinet)  alone has failed, and as such we need Parliamentary Oversight Committees to be set up to monitor all these government owned companies and GLCs...

The AUDITOR GENERAL scope should be extended to cover all government-owned and GLCs - whereby the report must be made public, and available also to Parliamentary supervision and monitoring...He must have access to all accounts, those in Malaysia and overseas...

About 14.5m EPF contributors may be impacted by PLUS sale
Corporate News

Wednesday, 20 Sep 2017 11:24 AM MYT

  • KUALA LUMPUR: There is rising concern that some 14.5 million contributors to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) may lose out on a steady stream of dividend income if the pension fund sells its 49 per cent stake in highway operator, PLUS Malaysia Bhd.

    These concerns seem to be gaining momentum amid news reports that entrepreneur Tan Sri Abu Sahid Mohamad is eyeing to take over PLUS Malaysia through his flagship Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd.

    Besides EPF's 49% equity in PLUS Malaysia, the majority 51 per cent shareholding is held by UEM Group Bhd, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

    Analysts say the proposal should be rejected as both the pension fund and the government's investment arm have enjoyed good returns from their acquisition of PLUS Malaysia since end-2011.

    They also said PLUS Malaysia represents a core business for Khazanah and a core investment for EPF and was undoubtedly an important income generator for both.

    As such, it raises the inevitable question as to why the fund or Khazanah would want to sell the highway operator at all.

    If the sale goes through, contributors feel that EPF would have lost its valuable income from toll collection and, as a result, will stop paying good dividends to contributors.

    The other question being raised is why sell a national asset to a private party when it belongs to the people via its ownership through a government-linked company (UEM Group) and EPF.

    The investment has been benefiting Malaysians including those from Sabah and Sarawak, hence PLUS Malaysia should continue to remain in EPF's portfolio as a long-term strategic investment, the analysts said.

    And, when the dividends are paid to Khazanah, it flows back to the government which can then use it for infrastructure development.
    Analysts note that given the strategic nature of the assets, it is important for Khazanah and EPF to remain the custodians of this business as they represent both the government and the people.

    It was good to note EPF Chief Executive Officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan as saying last month that the EPF has no plan to dispose its 49% stake in PLUS Malaysia 'as the investment in the company was reaping good returns for the pension fund'.

    Bernama quoted him as saying that the fund and UEM Group had invested substantially in expanding its network, especially in the Klang Valley.

    He was also quoted as saying that "PLUS Malaysia has contributed substantially to EPF's earnings.

    UEM Group, after receiving a non-binding letter of intent from Maju Holdings, also said it has no intention to sell its stake in PLUS Malaysia. - Bernama - Star, 20/9/2017

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