Thursday, October 18, 2012

KASE questions RM404m ‘mark up’ for AES

Teoh El Sen
 | October 18, 2012
A PAS-linked group claims that there is a "mark up" of RM404 million paid by the local contractors.
KUALA LUMPUR: The two local contractors handling the Automated Enforcement System (AES) may have paid RM404 million more for the speed cameras.
Anti-Saman Ekor Campaign (KASE) legal adviser Zulhazmi Shariff said today that a Transport Ministry parliamentary reply indicated that the private companies implementing the project for the government, namely Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd and A.T.E.S. Sdn Bhd, had invested RM717 million in the nationwide project.
However, he said filings made by their foreign technology partners Redflex Traffic Systems (Australia) and Jenoptik Robot (Germany) respectively showed a much lower cost for the same contracts.
“From what we found from a filing to the Australian Security Exchange dated Dec 19, 2011, Redflex had announced that it has obtained a contract worth more than USD50 million (RM151 million) to install 450 fixed cameras and 140 mobile cameras for Beta Tegap,” he said, showing copies of the filings of both companies which he obtained online.
For Jenoptik Robot, he said the company had announced that it was receiving USD53 million (RM160 million) to install 550 cameras for A.T.E.S.
He said the price included implementation and comprehensive support for five years.
Zulhazmi, who is also a PAS member, said this totalled to about RM312 million spent, which was RM404 million less than the RM717 the local companies had invested.
“That would make the difference of RM404 million. Why such a high mark up price?
“This is pure earning for these companies. Why didn’t the government buy these technologies directly?” he asked.

Money making firms

He alleged that companies such as Beta Tegap and A.T.E.S were merely sleeping partners or even “Ali Baba companies”.
“This shows that these companies are merely for making money,” he said.
“Who are the owners and what are their links to the Road Transport Department and government? All these we will reveal in time,” he added.
Meanwhile, PAS vice-president and Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar said that KASE would continue to lobby for the government to suspend the implementation of the AES project pending a review of its viability.
He said there were studies in some countries that supported his argument that such a system would not stop serious or fatal accidents.
“Yesterday, I saw a TV3 report that showed in London, many are happy with the same AES system. But I read a news report that said that London was the 2nd worse in most dangerous roads in England,” he said.
He said the same report, which quoted an independent study, had stated that Swindon town was the safest road (having an accident rate of 2.0 per 1,000 vehicles) after scrapping its AES system in 2009.
Mahfuz also cited the German autobahn highways which had no speed limit but had a minimum limit.
“I’m not advocating speeding, but I’m saying that this is another case that shows that speeding doesn’t cause accidents. It’s human error that causes accidents,” he added.
He said the government must consider studying the matter in its totality and open up discussions with all stakeholders, “including those from KASE, taxi drivers’ association and Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to find a proper solution.”
Mahfuz today also filed a motion to have the salary of Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha reduced by RM10 on grounds of his “stubbornness” with regard to the project.
AES is a system of cameras at accident-prone areas and traffic junctions which captured photos and videos of those who speed or run red lights.
The system would then automatically issue summonses to traffic offenders within a fortnight.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha said that PAS was “plucking the figure [RM404 million] out of thin air”.
“I don’t know how much the companies [Beta Tegap and A.T.E.S.] spent, because the government didn’t spend a single sen… unless PAS can show proof,” Kong said when approached by reporters outside the Parliament lobby.
He also said that there is no need at the moment to suspend the implementation of the AES project as it is something that will save lives.
“There is no need to do more studies as we’ve studied this for over 10 years. The government was concerned over the high accident and death rates,” he said.
“Whenever there’s an accident, people blame the government, but when the government wants to do something good, there is also resistance.”
On Mahfuz’s motion (to have his salary reduced by RM10) , Kong said that it was something “normal” and he would reply when the time comes.
On BN MPs call for the AES to be suspended, Kong said that many, including those in the government, still do not fully understand the mechanics of the system.
He also said that the Penang government’s plan not to use the system in the state was an “irresponsible” move.
He said that he would have to seek advice from the Attorney-General’s Chambers if the Penang
state government continues to resist.

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