14 Dec 2010

Saman diamond: Cronies scramble for a cut

PETALING JAYA: The Automated Enforcement System (AES) is bad news for errant motorists, but industry sources claimed that it would rake in at least RM1 billion in revenue for the government on an annual basis.And this, according to the sources, was only a “safe and conservative” estimate.AES is the soon to be implemented multi-million-ringgit traffic camera system to nab speeding motorists and red light violators.
"This is not a gold mine, it's a diamond mine,” a source told FMT. “That's why every Tom, Dick and Harry is scrambling for a piece of it.”He said this was also why the awarding of the contract and the implementation had been delayed again and again as "certain people" wanted their own "cronies" to benefit from it.

The source explained that the estimated earnings per year could be concluded based on the announcement by traffic officials that RM145 million worth of summonses for speeding were issued in 2005."That's just from ad hoc police stakeouts which last some two or three hours. With AES, it's going to be 24/7 (around-the-clock)," he said.

The source said the calculations would also include unreported summonses which could amount to 70% of the real amount of summonses (if reported ones were to be 30%) that would be given out.
"Plus, we include the 200 or so hotspots where the government has planned to install these speed cameras, the revenue will at the very least come up to RM1 billion if not billions," he said.

RM18 cut for the contractors

Sources also told FMT that the profit sharing system that would be in place for the contractors would include a RM18 cut from each summons issued.It was understood that the RM18 would be paid to the contractors by the government agency regardless of whether that summons was paid by the offender."If it's really RM18 per summons, that means, if there are some 20 million summonses issued a year, the company will be getting RM360 million a year from this," said the source.

"Has the government really thought about what all these means?” asked another source.“If they are truly transparent, why is the government not exposing how exactly the revenue sharing system works in such a large project of public interest?" he added.AES has been in the pipeline for several years and the latest announcement by Transport Ministry officials indicated that it would be rolled out in stages beginning January next year.Used in 55 countries, the system targets speeding motorists and aims to reduce accident rates, road fatalities and generally improve safety on roads.

Two companies are being outsourced for the cameras, and Road Transport Department director-general Solah Mat Hassan was previously quoted as saying that RTD would be issuing the summonses, which would reach the motorist's home in a week.AES also generated controversy when one of the companies involved in the tender, namely TESS Capital Sdn Bhd, cried foul and claimed to be sidelined despite being a "bona fide" company with locally-owned technology that was "as good as, if not better" than the two companies that are being awarded the contract.They claimed that the foreign technologies the two companies, Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd and Commercial Circle (M) Sdn Bhd, are using have failed in several instances in other countries.

Source : http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/fmt-english/news/general/14157-saman-diamond-cronies-scramble-for-a-cut

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