Monday, January 12, 2009


After I lamented the non-disclosure of the newly launched Duta-Ulu Klang Expressway’s (DUKE) concessionaire agreement on Friday, the authority swiftly made it public at the Works Ministry library this morning and I have the honour for being the first “outsider” to read it. Compare to some other concessionaire agreements that I’ve read, Duke is a fairly good drafted agreement. At least the government didn’t have to pay the concession company via a loan involving hundreds of millions for the project. Another unique clause in the agreement is that it mentions of an initial cost of RM909,276,822.03, unlike other concessionaire agreements where the value of the project was silent. This is of great significant in two-fold; first, in the event that government decides to buy back the highway, the cost given will be referred to in calculating the compensation sum to the concession company. Second, in times of breach or dispute between the parties, that figures will be an indication of how much the damages are to be decided.

Can the government buy back Duke? Sure it can. The agreement provides that government may expropriate the concession if it is of “national interest” or “national security”. So now we know national security is not the special right of Internal Security Act (ISA). The government should consider invoking the “national interest” excuse to buy back Guthrie Corridor Expressway, the KESAS, LDP, KL-Karak, Grand Saga highways and etc… because it is outrageous that motorists in Klang Valley have to pay increased toll rates when there are in fact more traffic jams, poorer services and deterioration of roads on the highways.

Lim Lip Eng

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