MIRI: State Reform Party Sarawak ( STAR) president Lina Soo has slammed the Ministry of Transport’s move to offer a one-off exemption of Automated Enforcement System (AES) fines as sheer inefficiency and a diversionary tactic of the ruling Pakatan Harapan government.
“Inefficiency! Why should the offenders be let off the hook? There is no reason not to collect the fines. Just to divert attention from all the other failures of their 100-day promises which were never delivered,” she thundered.
Soo is also the protem vice chairman of Sarawak Baru, the newly established Opposition alliance in Sarawak which included Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB), Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak ( Teras) and Sarawak Workers Party (SWP).
Minister of Transport Anthony Loke had on the 100th day of Pakatan Harapan taking over Putrajaya announced that all existing summons issued under the AES will be wiped out, with offending drivers letting off the hook.
He said this was in line with the Cabinet’s decision that Road Transport Department ( JPJ) will take over the full operations of AES in the country from two private companies, effective Sept 1 this year.
There were 3.1 million unpaid summonses as of May, which could be worth up to RM430 million but Loke said this is a one-off arrangement.
“This is a one-off,” he stressed.
After Sept 1, JPJ will take over the full operations of AES and any summons issued after that has to be paid and there will not be any more such offers or discounts,” said Loke at a press conference in Putrajaya on Thursday.
The previous BN government appointed two companies Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd and ATES Sdn Bhd to operate the AES since 2012 at the rate of RM16 for each summon issued, and this was taken over by Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT), through its subsidiary Irat Properties, in 2015.
Loke “apologised” to road users who had paid their AES summons, adding that no refunds would be given.
Soo was not impressed, saying it amounted to nothing in Sarawak against the backdrop of broken promises of 20 per cent oil royalty and other pledges.
She said it was a smokescreen of PH pledges not being delivered, pointing out that Sarawak is worse off when it was offered 20 per cent profit which is less than five per cent royalty for oil and gas extracted from the state.
“Twenty per cent of nothing is nothing!” she said of the pledge in the PH’s 14th General Election manifesto.
She also dismissed the proposal to set up a committee to resolve this issue, saying an international treaty had been signed and sealed 55 years ago.
“If they want to meet and discuss again, they must include United Kingdom, Singapore and Sabah. All original signatories to the treaty. So PH is fooling us again,” Soo reiterated.