KUALA TERENGGANU: The state government was grilled today by the opposition for not taking a stake in the RM4.284 billion East Coast Highway 2 (LPT2) project.
Tepuh assemblyman Hishamuddin Abdul Karim from PAS also queried as to how the Barisan Nasional-led state government could be embroiled in a RM2.6 billion debt over three other mega projects, with overrunning costs due to delays.
“These, and the absence of adequate oil royalty from the Bertam field, are burdening the state coffers and the people, resulting in numerous socio-economic programmes, like sufficient housing and welfare, not being carried out,” said Hishamuddin when presenting a motion of thanks to the royal address by the Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.
The ruler had opened the state assembly at Wisma Darul Iman yesterday (Monday).
Hishamuddin said the LPT2 project was funded via RM1.52 billion from the Malaysian Highway Authority and RM0.914 billion from the Public Works Department from the Ninth and Tenth Malaysia Plans.
“The balance of RM1.85 billion was topped up from the state’s special fund, which basically is the public’s money.
“Why has the state not laid a stake in the LPT 2 project to collect revenue?” he asked, adding the concessionaire was charging a high sum of 12 sen per kilometre in toll fees.
He revealed that Works Minister had on March 9 revealed that a total of RM40.5 million was collected by concessionaire Lebuhraya Pantai Timur (LPT) 2 Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of PLUS Expressway Berhad) from toll fees from July 15 to Dec 31, last year.
“But the money collected was used for operations and maintenance, as well as major repairs of the highway.
“Also, what is the duration of the concession contract awarded to LPT2 Sdn Bhd? he asked.
PLUS Expressway Berhad, he said, had clinced a clear cut concession contract for the North-South Expressway, initially from 1988 to 2018, then extended to 2030 in 1999 and a further extension to 2038 in 2005.
Hishamuddin added that the state government had sought compensation from the federal government for the LPT2 toll fees, but the RM118.5 million awarded was instead channeled to upgrade the two-lane trunk road to four lanes in Kemaman and Marang.
On the RM2.6 billion mega projects, Hishamuddin said RM700 million was to be spent over 10 years from last year for the Bandar Baru Kuala Nerus new township, being developed by Casahartamas Sdn Bhd.
Beijing Enterprise Water Group (M) Sdn Bhd was undertaking the RM499 million water treatment plant in Bukit Sah, Kemaman, but the contract has ballooned up to RM700 million owing to delays.
Similarly, Serba Dinamik Holdings Berhad is undertaking another water treatment plant in Kuala Terengganu Utara, initially at RM797 million but now at RM1.3 billion due to delays.
Earlier, Bandar assemblyman Azan Ismail of PKR alleged that despite the lack of adequate housing for the people, one individual was able to amass some 60 properties of land and houses in the state.
Azan asked for a breakdown on how the RM700 million housing scheme was meted out and if part of the money was allocated to other states.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman, who is Seberang Takir assemblyman from Umno, explained that it was not wrong for a person who could afford to buy the properties to own them.
Razif added that the said individual could have bought the properties from the open market and not from the people’s housing scheme or low-cost homes, reserved for the less fortunate.