MoT reviews AES concession contracts

By P PREM KUMAR / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM

The government is currently reviewing the concession contract awarded to operate and manage the Automated Enforcement System (AES) cameras installed on highways nationwide, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke (picture).

Loke said the government has yet to decide whether to abolish or maintain the AES concession agreement given by the previous administration.

“It is something we are looking at, but there is no decision yet on the AES, as it involves several other implications.

“A decision whether to abolish that system will be announced within the next one to two months,” Loke said in a media conference yesterday.

Currently, the 66-month concession contract to manage the AES is granted to Irat Properties Sdn Bhd, which is linked to Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera and Boustead Holdings Bhd.

“I have asked the relevant department to give me a concrete proposal on the system. I will then discuss it with the ministry officials, then in Parliament, where we need to make a decision on the AES.

“I do not want to pre-empt anything, but we expect a decision to be out concerning the AES within one to two months,” he said.

Meanwhile, Loke said the federal government will not deviate from its pledge to improve the public transportation system in light of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s hint in having a new second national car company while he was in Japan.

He said the government will continue to monitor and ensure the public transportation system benefits Malaysians at large.

“We are committed in building a public transportation system in line with our election manifesto,” he said, when asked on the relevance of a second national car company given the country’s current financial burden.

Loke declined to elaborate on Dr Mahathir’s announcement, saying that the prime minister would present his case after he returns from a working visit to Tokyo.

“It will be best for the prime minister himself to provide details of his plan, I cannot comment on this matter,” Loke said.

Proton Holdings Bhd is the country’s national car company, being mooted and named by Dr Mahathir himself during his previous stint as the prime minister.

The previous Barisan Nasional government’s decision to allow DRB-Hicom Bhd to dispose of half of its shareholding to China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd, is not well received by Dr Mahathir.

Speaking during a dialogue at the 24th Nikkei Conference in Tokyo, the prime minister said the government aims to have a new national car company as Proton can no longer be deemed as a national car post Geely-acquisition.

“We are thinking of starting another national car — maybe with an Asian country…maybe Thailand, South Korea or even Japan,” he said.