Wednesday, 28 January 2015

KIDEX has hit the nail on its own coffin by refusing to publicly disclose its highway concession agreement

For the record, I stand behind and echo the statement below. 

Media Statements by Tony Pua, Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara and DAP National Publicity Secretary in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 26 January 2015
KIDEX has hit the nail on its own coffin by refusing to publicly disclose its highway concession agreement
Yesterday, The Malay Mail Online reported that Kidex Sdn Bhd has agreed to reveal details of its highway concession agreement only to the Selangor government and not the general public.
 “We are prepared to publicly disclose the concession agreement, but only to the Selangor mentri besar and state legal advisors,” Kidex Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Dr Shaharizuan Shafiei.
This is in response to state Menteri Besar Azmin Ali’s recent demand that the developer of the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) publicly disclose its concession deal if it wants Selangor to even consider reviewing the project.
The failure of Kidex to comply with the clear and strict conditions by the Selangor state government would automatically mean that the highway project will not even be considered for approval, much less be given the approval to proceed.
In the Menteri Besar’s first official visit to Petaling Jaya on the 31 October 2014, he had outlined clearly the terms by which Kidex and any other new highways have to comply before being given consideration by the state government.
The Menteri Besar had said that the Selangor state government is not against the construction of highways, any highway to be built must prove itself beneficial to the rakyat.  As such, certain conditions must be met including:
a)    The concessionaire must provide a traffic impact and other relevant studies demonstrating substantial benefit for commuters in terms of reducing traffic congestion and travel time.
b)    There must be full transparency on the rate of return of the highway including the toll rates to be charged. This is to ensure that there will be no astronomical profits for the concessionaire and unfair burden on the users.
c)     In line with the transparency and accountability practice of the state government, Azmin Ali also demanded that the concession agreement must be fully disclosed to the public.
Hence Kidex’s “agreement” to reveal its concession agreement only to the Menteri Besar and his legal advisors clear‎ly fell short of what is required of the concessionaire to meet the transparency and accountability standards of the state government.
As such, should Kidex fail to comply to these conditions which has been formally informed to both the Malaysian Highway Authority as well as the concessionaire by the stipulated February 14th deadline, then Kidex has hammered its own nail on its coffin.
At the same time, we call upon the Federal Government to reject the Kidex request to extend the deadline again since it is unable to fulfil the conditions stipulated by the state and hence automatically failed to fulfil the conditions precedents of the highway concession agreement.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

We believe that the corridor for the proposed alignment of KIDEX will better be used as a public transport line.

Joint Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, Rajiv Rishyakaran, Ng Sze Han and Lau Weng San, State Assemblypersons of Damansara Utama, Bukit Gasing, Kinrara and Kampung Tunku.

We believe that the corridor for the proposed alignment of KIDEX (Kinrara-Damansara Expressway) will better be used as a public transport line.

KIDEX is a 14.9km elevated highway project, worth RM2.2 billion, which aims at connecting the north and south of Klang Valley. While we welcome more highways to be built as Klang Valley develops, we believe that the current proposed alignment is a good corridor for public transport line instead of a highway.

Current alignment if made into a public transport line - Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), Light Rapid Transit (LRT) or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), is able to provide greater connectivity to the current public transport network, with possible interchanges with MRT Line 1, LRT Kelana Jaya Line, LRT Ampang Line and KTM Commuter (see attachment). 

Taking up the airspace for the construction of the KIDEX highway will deny the people of Petaling Jaya and Puchong a future public transport link at this particular corridor. This is a spatial opportunity cost lost.

KIDEX is an elevated highway that cut through densely populated and matured residential areas in Petaling Jaya and Puchong and its construction requires acquisition of about 300 plots of land. Putrajaya must prove to the people of Petaling Jaya and Puchong, who are the biggest stakeholders of the project, that the highway project will indeed benefit them more than a public transport project.

Therefore, we urge the federal government to do comparative studies between a highway and public transport line at this particular corridor. KIDEX should also study other alternative alignments. If a highway with the proposed alignment is found to be best option for Klang Valley traffic, then we hope that KIDEX can provide more convincing traffic impact assessment with facts and figures to justify that. At the moment, we have yet to receive traffic impact assessment from KIDEX despite making several requests.

We acknowledge the need for more highways for traffic dispersal as Petaling Jaya and the Klang Valley grows and develops. However, this should not be done on an ad-hoc manner, as with KIDEX planning, but through holistic planning for the Klang Valley road infrastructure, for example Klang Valley traffic master plan.

Only with a holistic traffic master plan that we know which location is best for what transport mode at Klang Valley and only with that the city can development in a more sustainable manner, realizing the full potential of the land value.

RM1000 leasehold renewal program remains for residential properties

Media statement by Rajiv Rishyakaran, State Assemblyman for Bukit Gasing on Friday, 25th July 2014

RM1000 leasehold renewal program remains for residential properties

The allegations by MCA that the move by the Land Office to charge between RM300,000 and RM500,000 to renew leasehold properties could leave the elderly homeless is completely misleading1.

There is no question of the elderly being made homeless as all residential properties are eligible for the RM1000 renewal scheme. There are many concerned inquiries if it now cost RM500k to renew an expiring lease following recent news articles2. I wish to clarify that for residential properties, the RM1000 renewal scheme still exist and is still applicable.

However, from the start of this scheme, it was only for residential purposes, and not for commercial or industrial land3. The name of the scheme, Private Residential Ownership Scheme also strongly implies that.

There are many residential properties in PJ Old Town that have converted into commercial premises over the last few decades. These are the premises that have been rejected from the RM1000 renewal scheme. These properties would have to renew their lease as commercial lands.

The Selangor Land Rules 2003 is the law that spells out the formula for calculating the price of the leasehold renewal for commecial and industrial lands, of which it has not changed in recent times.

We call upon Datuk Paul Low to walk the talk of transparency and push for the disclosure of KIDEX concession agreement.

Joint Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, Rajiv Rishyakaran, Ng Sze Han and Lau Weng San, State Assemblypersons of Damansara Utama, Bukit Gasing, Kinrara and Kampung Tunku on Sunday, 6 April 2014

We call upon the minister in the prime minister office, Datuk Paul Low to walk the talk of transparency and push for the disclosure of Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (KIDEX) concession agreement.

KIDEX is a 14.9km elevated highway project that is worth RM2.42 billion. The contract was awarded to Emrail Sdn Bhd and Zabima Engineering Sdn Bhd, which are linked to UMNO lawyer Datuk Hafarizam Harun and the wife of former Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi.

KIDEX Sdn Bhd, which was a company formed by Emrail Sdn Bhd and Zabima Engineering Sdn Bhd[1], has announced that KIDEX highway construction is to begin as early as beginning of next year. [2]

While it is debatable whether the contract is a ‘political reward’, there’s one thing we know – we have yet to see the concession agreement. How long will the concession be? How much is the toll rate? On what basis will the toll rate is to be computed?

We do welcome more highways that connect north and south of Klang Valley. Currently, there are 5 highways that serve the Klang Valley with an east-west alignment, which are SPRINT, Federal Highway, NPE, KESAS and the Bukit Jalil Highway; but only one highway with a north-south alignment, which is Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP). The aim of KIDEX is to help to alleviate traffic congestion on the LDP, which is good.

Nevertheless, will it become another LDP that rob people for obscene profit for the concessionaire in the name of infrastructure? The total capital cost of construction of the LDP highway is estimated at RM1.3 billion while the projected profit after tax over the 30-year concession period will be RM18.9 billion, which is 14 times the capital investment. [3] Giving the Barisan Nasional government the benefits of doubt, we do not know whether KIDEX is another highway robbery until we see the concession agreement.

Since assuming his role as the ‘transparency minister’ in the Prime Minister office, Datuk Paul Low has been singing the tune of transparency and accountability. He stressed the necessity of access of information and questioned the rationale of putting the highway concession under Official Secrets Act (OSA).[4] He also denied the label as a lame duck ‘transparency minister’.[5]

Therefore, we believe that Datuk Paul Low should push for disclosure of concession agreements of all the highways to be built in his tenure. And we suggest that he start with KIDEX concession agreement. This is definitely a golden opportunity for him to prove that he is after all not a lame duck ‘transparency minister’.


CEO cannot claim Kidex is the best option without proof

Media Statement by Rajiv Rishyakaran, ADUN for Bukit Gasing, on Monday, 28th April 2014.

CEO cannot claim Kidex is the best option without proof

I refer to the claim by Kidex CEO, Datuk Mohd Nor Idrus

Before Kidex can attempt to claim that its proposed highway is “best way to ease congestion”, they must be forthcoming and reveal the Traffic Impact Assessment, that has surely been commission by the company.

The proposed highway will definitely have an impact on existing local roads in Petaling Jaya – the question is for the better or worse?

We can see from the little that Kidex has thus shared on their website and public displays, that there are few ramps connecting the elevated highway to existing local roads. The public has a right to know whether these connections will cause more congestion, or actual relieve. From other examples of highways that we have, we can see that it is a real posibility that the highway might make congestion worse for PJ folk.

If Kidex can really claim to bring down the pass thru traffic in Petaling Jaya by whatever amount, it must be ready to show studies, by professionals to back that claim. And it must open that study to scrutiny by MBPJ, the Selangor Government and 3rd party professionals.

The public has been waiting for far too long for this. Its time Kidex comes clean on it.