The cabinet decided to privatise the installation of the Automated Enforcement System (AES) before Ong Tee Keat became transport minister, Ong said today.
Asked why the AES installation was outsourced to private companies, Ong said he, too, had raised the same question when he became minister in 2008.
His term ended in 2010, after he lost the MCA presidency to Dr Chua Soi Lek.
"But I must tell you that the decision (to privatise the AES system) was made (by the cabinet) well before I became a minister," Ong ( right ) told a press conference in his constituency of Pandan in Selangor this morning.
Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd and ATES Sdn Bhd, which secured the AES contract, have been accused of being crony companies of the BN leadership, out to make huge profits from traffic offence summonses issued to motorists.
Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri has denied this and told Parliament that the AES scheme is not a means to enrich cronies of the government.
Pressed as to who the transport minister responsible for the AES proposal was, Ong named his predecessor Chan Kong Choy.
However, Ong did not want to blame anyone for the outsourcing, saying that his chief concern was to service his constituency.
"But please, for God's sake, don't say Ong Tee Keat is pinpointing anybody for this... I am not interested in verbal stabs."
Ong said it was the Finance Ministry that made the final decision to outsource the AES system on behalf of the cabinet.
Improve AES implementation
Ong said he was agreeable about the AES, but called on the government to fix the inconsistencies in its implementation.
For example, sufficient AES warning signs should be placed accordingly and the fines should follow the current legislation.
“If Road Transport Department (RTD) says what the penalty should be, that’s it! We don’t want any discrepancies.”
Ong said the RTD, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) and the Works Ministry should have better coordination in deciding on the speed limit within AES zones to prevent any confusion.
Asked to comment on the MCA’s slogan of ‘Stability above chaos’ for the coming general election, Ong declined to answer. The question should be directed to the current leadership, he said.
In the dark on MCA issues
“I am just an ordinary (party) member, just like a private in the army,” he joked.
Ong also refused to comment on the crowds leaving the party dinner in Johor, during Chua’s speech, since he was not there.
“Anything on the MCA, I am totally in the dark,” he added.
Ong also said residents in Pandan Jaya and Pandan Indah apartments have been overcharged for their water use by Selangor water concessionaire, Syabas.
He said the overcharging was due to Syabas changing the status of the residential areas to “commercial zones”, causing the water tariff to be hiked from 57 sen per cubic metre (cu-m) to RM2.28/cu-m.
Showing the sale and purchase agreements, Ong pointed out that the apartments were residential units and he called on Syabas to revert back the normal tariff on the water bills.