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'It's about saving lives'

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AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM: Minister refutes accusations by opposition

THE Automated Enforcement System (AES) issue saw emotions run high. As Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha began his winding-up speech, opposition members  interrupted him repeatedly.

"I feel this issue had been misunderstood. The only intention of the government in implementing this system is to save lives," Kong said  to jeers from the opposition.

Kong said a projection by the Malaysia Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) showed that if by 2020,  no proactive measures were taken to reduce the number of road accidents, the figure might increase to 10,000 cases annually.   

"As it is, an average of 19 people die in road accidents daily and as of September, 5,184 deaths due to road accidents had been recorded."

At this juncture,  Datuk Mahfuz Omar (Pas-Pokok Sena) asked Kong to produce proof as to how the implementation of the system could  save lives. He also questioned the background of the companies  selected to implement the AES.

"You are trying to confuse the house with your accusations which have no basis and are not true. This is an initiative on our part to reduce accidents and create a safer environment on the roads," Kong said as  both sides of the house erupted into an uproar.

To a question from Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) on  venues through which the AES summonses could be paid,  Kong said the matter was being looked into.

"We are in the midst of planning so that payment can be made online, in post offices and through  Malaysia's e-government services provider, MyEG Services (MyEG) Bhd."

Kong  said there was a mechanism in place which ensured that the companies' internal rate of return was capped at 17 per cent.

"This means  their profit is limited. If they make more than 17 per cent, the balance is returned to the government."

Kong also denied that there was a clause in the agreement which allowed the companies to sue the government if they failed to make a profit from the service.

It was reported that the two firms awarded the contract to implement the AES -- Ates Sdn Bhd and Beta Tegap -- will spend between RM300 million and RM400 million each to set up traffic cameras at 831 "black spots" nationwide.

Both  companies are entitled to RM16 per valid summonses for the first five million summonses issued. The two companies would then split the remaining revenue evenly with the government up to a cap of RM270 million each. The firms would each receive 7.5 per cent from the remaining revenue, and the government keeps the rest.

The AES was implemented on Sept 23.


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