Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Toll Hike, Gen 2 and Changing Jobs

From Cyberjaya to Taman Megah
Truth be told, and I am unapologetic about this, I often take tolled roads and highways, if it means getting to my destination fast and hassle-free. That's why I am prompt in reloading my touch-&-go.
I use my smart-tag very regularly. In fact, I often wonder why motorists don't do as I do -- use the smart tag lane -- if they are regular highway users.
Just looking at the heavily-queued "tunai" lanes makes me so stressful, I have to turn on some really good music to be de-stressed or distracted.
I don't mind paying that extra ringgit to reach Putrajaya, Bangsar, KLIA, Subang Jaya and Shah Alam.
And if it is going north to Ipoh or south to Singapore via Johor Baru -- do I have a choice?
Actually, I should be talking in the past tense because the recent toll hike on several highways which include those I frequent, is making me feel the pinch.
I know, I know. Everyone's bitching about the toll hike. Enough said already. As though anything I say now will make a difference.
I will say my piece, anyway.
Before this, I did try to make that little difference. I "boycotted" highways where the increase has been in effect. Yes, I had to bear with the inconvenience.
But, I suppose I no longer have the zest or the energy to continue doing so.
Too old for all this. I avoided the tolled highways once or twice. Maybe, even three times. Then, I went back to being the impatient townie who just wants to get to her destination fast and hassle-free.
Most times, of course, I do have a choice, because I do have the time to bear with the inconvenience.
Some people don't.
Take Jay, my niece who lives in Kelana Jaya, PJ and works in Cyberjaya. And this is about Jay and the many people like her.
She is a young (married) mother of two -- Ayra (19 months old) and Ayna (5 months). Just your average young working woman.
Before she was married she worked with an NGO in Taman Megah, PJ. After she got married, she was offered a job in Cyberjaya that came with better pay. She loved her NGO job because it was what she believed in. But she had to be practical. Soon, she was going to have a baby and the family could do with added income. She could take the Cyberjaya job with better pay and still hold on to her beliefs and idealism. What a happy compromise.
Besides, Cyberjaya wasn't that far. There was the LDP.
Yes, there was the LDP. And there is still the LDP. But today is a different story for her. Today she is reviewing her financial situation and is forced to make some adjustments.
She has made some calculations -- she has to fork out about RM460 a month on toll charges. She reckons she can buy a Gen 2 and make monthly loan repayments of that amount. But that is not the point.
You feel like you are being held at ransom. You pay your taxes so that in return you get good roads, among other things.
Good roads may not be your God-given right, but this is the new millennium, for heaven's sake. We are supposed to have good roads, good infrastructure.
So, we pay toll to have a nice drive to wherever we have to go. You have an option. Don't pay toll and you can take the dirt road, so to speak.
So, you pay the toll for that good drive along that good road, although sometimes I feel cheated because traffic seems to be piling up by the minute on these tolled roads.
So, my dear Jay. Looks like you do have to make that major adjustment. No one is listening to you or the thousands of motorists affected by the toll hike.
You are on your own. Your hardship is yours to carry, to bear. You are, after all, just the common people.
That NGO job in Taman Megah never looked so appealing, huh?
Now, you see her point?


Taufeq Rahim said...

itulah perbezaan antara keperluan dan kemewahan. Jika dulu tolled highway ialah kemewahan, sekarang ia menjadi keperluan kerana kita tidak mampu untuk mengambil jalan lain.

Sheih said...

Dear Nuraina,

We pay road tax, we pay income tax, we pay double and tripple tax on certain items and at certains outlet. We finance the Government ambitions with our EPF. Do we ever complaint? Not many do complaint because we take it as our duty and EPF as our future.

But to think of how the government been complaining that they have to spent a lot of money on us is really sickening.

The government should realise that we are the one that paying their salary. Abdullah should realise that we are the one who paid for his oversea trips etc. (Or is there somebody else). We are entitled to ask the PM to listen to us. He is entitle to reply to us, his employer.

Hmmm. Geram!

So, what we rakyats do, Patah Sayap pun kita terbang juga.

Anonymous said...

Work with him, not for him, he said 3 years ago. Thought it was some metaphor for a new era.

Woke up yesterday & realized it's literal and for real!

Can't sleep well.


Dr Butiq said...

Dear Nuraina,

You foerget one thing the speed trap (Saman Ekor, bukan numbor ekor atau tikam ekor).How many summons will you received if you travelled from Kl to JB or to Perlis.I have the annswer.


Yara said...

I think we in SG share the same sentiments with our close neighbours when it comes to taxes and tolls (here motorists have to deal with the ERPs). Being a public transport user, I have less to grumble compared to the drivers and riders but I am beginning to feel a slight pinch due to the recent increases in public transport fares and taxi charges here.

Anonymous said...

anda mungkin dilahirkan dlm golongan yang berada! bagaimana dgn mereka yang kurang mampu dan mahukan citarasa 'hassle-free' juga? adakah mereka tidak layak kerana mereka miskin atau 'dizalimi' oleh kerajaan dan tanah air yg tercinta? jika smmgnya ditakdirkan mereka daif bermakna kesenangan itu hanyalah utk mereka yg mampu sahaja walhal mereka adalah rakyat jelata juga. sepatutnya kesenangan dikongsi bersama. tidak semua rakyat malaysia mempunyai kesenangan dan kemewahan.

Anonymous said...

Apa kata kita kurangkan majority mereka di Parlimen di pilihanraya akan datang.

The Floating Turd said...

Hi Nuraina,

Remember me? Guess not, since I write under a pseudonym.
I used to work for you in NST many years ago.
Anyway, just thought I'd pop by and welcome you to The Blogosphere.
Am looking forward to reading your stuff.

Bergen said...

There's nothing we can do about it. They can hike it to 400% and you can bet your left ear and your nose that we'll take it in like a good citizen that we are. We have been conditioned to accept everything. Yes we can write about it but no one in his or her right mind would dare to do something about it other than attend a protest rally at the toll plaza and risk being checked out by the police. We can write about it but we don't have the gut to do anything about it. We can take a lot of things they've got coming for us and they know this. They made us this way, right from Standard One all the way to the university. They pay for your tuition fees and your toothpaste. And they darn won't have it that you go against them. They are too strong. And we've got housing loans, car loans, credit cards, and other bills to think of. They've made us a middle class creature who have to depend on a stable government to keep going. Next election, be sure to vote for the government, y'hear? And pay your toll like a good kid. It's gonna go on and on and on...

It's a stable country. That's what everyone needs.

Anonymous said...

Kakak Nuraina notice tak? Even topping up our Touch N Go at Petronas stations we will be charged RM 0.50. Diam-diam je. I feel that it's a lot considering that they have monopolised the industry.

I know someone will probably point out and say the Singaporeans have to pay a small fee as well when topping up their Cashcard at 7-11, still..our purchasing power is small compared to theirs.


Anonymous said...


I couldn't agree more with you. Everything you said is the truth.
I have school going children and their welfare is my responsibility.
I can't afford to burn down the toll booth or gate crash the toll without paying, to register my protest. I know the consequences and the damage it will do to my family if I were to act without using my head.
All that I can do to console myself is to pray to Allah. "Ya Allah, Engkau berilah balasan yang setimpal kepada mereka yang menindas hamba mu sekeluarga" Amin.
Please 'Amin' kan bersama-sama.

This comment has been removed by the author.
Kak Teh said...

ena, am glad to see that some are bloghopping from my blog. but you dont need me to canang for you...there are people queueing up to visit 3540 jalan sudin.
aaaah, the toll! met mr toll himself here a few months back. he must have felt quite frustrated driving along UK roads wihtout any toll booths!

Rockybru said...

from pong-town, puchong to bangsar, where the office is, i would have to pay RM5.80 one way.

the breakdown:
RM1 toll at sri kembangan on the putrajaya highway
RM1.60 on Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong
RM1.60 Sungai Way toll on New Pantai Expressway
RM1.60 for the NPE's exit near Angkasapuri

I go home everyday, so the two-way toll I have to fork out is RM11.60 each day.

In a month, I go to the office 24 times, at least.

RM11.60 x 24, that's RM278.80.

For that amount, I could get a great PC or a flat-screen (12 months instalments, no downpayment, at Jusco).

So I found routes, through backroads and pot-holed lanes, to get to Bangsar toll-free. Yes, there is a way. I don't pay no toll these days. Zero. Zilch. Yay!

But I have a feeling I won't get that flat-screen or that Acer desktop, despite the savings. They up the BLR rates a little, and debt-laden people like me are dead ducks. One more increase in the diesel price and I shall have to join the league of the Mat Rempits and wheelie all the way to work on the scoot! And as Mat Rempit, I qualify to be a crony to Putera Umno and their boss Khairy Jamaluddin!!

Mmmm .. could the toll hike be a deliberate attempt to slowly push all of us that way?

Jorji said...

..banyak blog2 semi politik atau politik sepenuhnya yang apabila dibaca,terasa tension pulak.isu-isu yang sememang meyeksakan semakin terseksa selepas membacanya di blog.kenaikan bayaran tol memang mengganggu perasaan dan selepas membaca 'amukan' bloggers dan komen2nya,terus stress.heh...tapi 3540 jln sudin ni ..lebih ringan..terasa ringan..menyenangkan.

~ GAB ~ said...

Bloghopp from Kak Teh's

Nice to know a friend of Kak Teh starts blogging. I am pretty sure we'll see something good happening. Blogging is about ideas, blogging is about writing. Since you people are trained (read: expert) in the field, it'll be a cinch to you.

I'd come back to read more of you. Keep blogging.

Anonymous said...

I have always hated tolled highways but we do not have a choice, do we? But if you can avoid tolled roads, particularly if you are travelling up north and down south, try using the Federal trunk roads. Just enjoy the scenery of rustic old kampung houses or fantastic Chinese shophouses in Kampar or Kuala Kangsar, if you are travelling north.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nuraina,

Thank you for taking the time, energy and effort for 3540 Jalan Sudin. I miss reading the wonderful articles in the NST way back in the 80s and 90's; be it political, whimsical or inspirational, by the women journalists in Jalan Riong. I admired the collective views and thoughts, and the courage to voice out opinions - unheard of way back then. I think you and your friends have helped shape the moderate, progressive face of Malay women (dare I say feminism) everywhere.

Thank you.


Azrin said...

Hi Nuraina, met u once at BSC, intoduced by my sis gina. Welcome to the blog world.

Anonymous said...

Paying toll is one thing - but look at the conditions of our roads. Potholes, broken roads, broken road surfaces,broken drains, you name it.

We wonder if the JKR, or MPPJ or whoever just award the contract to certain contarctors to do the road, pay them, and that's it. No standard demanded, no inspection, to warranty of any kind. I am not biased towards the british, but old roads seemed to last a lifetime.

There is a trend that the same contractors keep resurfacing roads (so-called projek menurap jalan) that they themselves built poorly in the first place. Just feel and observe as you drive around PJ/Taman Megah/Kelana Jaya/Subang Jaya.

This trend is also evident along the Karak highway: the formula seems to be, build, scrape, resurface. In this manner you are actually getting perpetual contract!

Apparently the road scraping and resurfacing is gaining momentum due to billions of allocation in 9MP!

Elly said...

Dear Nuraina,

As a former (female) reporter with the NSTP group myself, I personally think that you are one of the coolest, smartest and most elegant editors around!

Looking forward reading more of your posts! :-)

-Ex-BT journalist-

Anonymous said...

hey this is the BEST article on the toll hike that i've read :D n i am not kissing ass -- that's not my strong poitn :D

Anonymous said...

Toll hike, petrol price hike, school bus or transportation hike and what else is coming...somebody told me a couple weeks ago that his cukai pintu was hiked more than 100 percent! Guess, expect more of the same in 2007. As a Penangite, i'm now going back to kampung alone taking the bus express, without the wife and kids most of the time, cuz of the increase in the cost of living. i wonder what else people are doing out there to ikat perut - ikat kaki dan tangan sekali agaknya.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nuraina
Never knew why the NST did not offer you a column when you were on their payroll. You certainly write better than some people there.
Keep on blogging, my friend!

Bukan Orang Penang

Anonymous said...

My sister now have to pay rm356.40 a month... minus the fuel.

First it was the fuel, now it's the toll. The Scribe wrote..

"We are talking about padi farmers, smallholders, vegetable gardeners, low-ranking civil servants, construction workers, lorry drivers, low-ranking pensioners and those on welfare.

Can they rise up to Najib’s challenge and change their lifestyle when, in reality, they don’t have any kind of lifestyle to talk about?
Their is mere survival."

Can anybody from up there say anything about changing our lifestyle again? Yes, I agree with you, it's enough for people to complain...

Just thought that I'd quote The Scribe on what he posted on March 2006...

Welcome to the blogosphere... I dont think it's wise for me to put my real name here. Let's just say that we've had buka puasa together, in Muzeum Islam, last Puasa... I was with my family.

ilene said...

Hi Nuraina,
I'm one of those hop blog from Kak Teh's. You've named your blog well. Gee, why didn't I think of that?! heheheh...I don't mind paying toll but what really makes me boil is the fact that the tolled highways are jammed up! Here, I am, stuck in a long queue towards the toll booth, then finally reached the booth and 'click' the toll sum is deducted and I can't move forward! I'm still under the barrier! Couldn't they at least give us a jammed free tolled highway?

rejal said...

A belated congrats for having your own blog. I have not been surfing for the last four five days and just saw the entry on rocky's tonight. Its not as if I am too busy but there are always things to do.

I envy all the ex NST having their own blogs inc Sdr Kadir, Rocky, AhmadT, Ron, Zaharah, Marina etc. I just don't have the tenacity and stamina for it and only tumpang by way of comments in other blogs. Though I do contribute to BeritaKMU now and then as well as taking part in the MCOBA yahoo group.

On this toll thing, I don't know how the government can agree to such lopsided agreements with all the concessionaires to the extent that it has to subsidise whatever shortfall in the annual collection.
If it does not agree to pass the yearly (periodic) increases to the road users, it has to top up. So in the end it is still the taxpayers money whether directly or indirectly. Even with the current increase the government still has to top up.

Yet some of the toll roads like the LDP do not even meet international standards in terms of safety lanes, width of lanes etc. We have really been short changed and taken for a ride. The civil servants and leaders enthrusted with scrutiinising the agreements don't seem to have done their job well. They have actually betrayed their trust to the detriment of the rakyat for the benefit of the concessionaires.

Warm regards. All the best and happy blogging.

Anonymous said...


I drive from Subang Jaya to Cheras daily. The Kesas H'way provides an easy, direct route from SJ to Cheras.

Before the toll increase, I paid RM3.00 (2 x RM1.50) for one way. Even though I thought it was a little high then,I didn't mind it so much because of the convenience.

But not any more.

Kesas now collects RM4.40 (RM2.20 x 2) for the same single-way trip.

Because of this steep jump, I now avoid entering Kesas until after the toll plaza. Same story for LDP and NPE.

And it's all thanks to my investment in a street directory (about RM40 - it has since paid for itself in toll savings).

Get hold of one and look for roads that you can use to bypass the toll plazas, while still using a large part of the tolled h'ways. I did, and now I can avoid paying toll at the LDP, Kesas and NPE.

The downside, of course, is that you have to drive a little further and it takes a little longer. But, heck, you still have to queue when you pay toll at the LDP anyway.

Dek Mat said...

Yeah the tolls are getting worse, it's time we demand for better action!

At SiPM our Chief Whip has made her own version of a statement!

Vote for Siber Party of Malaysia (M) and give us a chance to fix these snowballing niggling problems once and for all!

Anonymous said...

Best news since the exit of 2006. I remember telling Sam at NPC, after I heard that he was jobless after the invasion of Iraq, "Start Blogging, share your thoughts." When he did no such thing (probably for reasons best known to him)I kept my thoughts to myself. Then whilst in Bahamas in late 2005 I heard that Rocky was no more at Malay Mail...I was tempted to ask him to blog, but thought otherwise. So wasnt I thrilled when I received an sms from Rocky that he had started to blog and warned me not to be surprised and not to litigate if he ran out of interesting topics he might take a pot shot at me. So since then it is rocky bru for breakfast. I am glad that he pressured you (or didnt he?) you into blogging. Welcome Nuraina....mabe I will have 3540 as a nightcap.More power to you.Zorro.

Anonymous said...

Asalamualaikum Nuraina,
Congratulations on having your own blog.I have been spending some time in Japan and will be going back there again at end of month.As you must already have known the public transport system there especially the trains system is very efficient and are always crowded at peak hours.No need to own cars or pay exhorbitant tolls.
Each time i commute from Akihabara to Tsukuba my mind wonders back to Msia and whished that our politicians in power could have the vission and the commonsense to develope an infrastructure which can create the economy and makes commuting in and around the klang valley more efficient.Tun M had that vission but I guess they would never pick on his intelligence and foresight.(Inilah yang di panggilkan bodoh sombong)
Where have all the good lady editors in Balai Berita gone to? BTW what a shame....not a single lady in important positions left in NST. No wonder NST has lost its warmth n "ladies touch"!
Best wishes n to all 'ex NST' bloggers keep up the great job.

wonda said...

Talking about tolls, I don't know about Malaysia. But, over here in Japan, the toll fare is not for a to-and-fro trip and is at an exhorbitant rate.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, we can show our protest by signing in the petition of