PUTRAJAYA: The government will only pay back RM555 million to the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) for the takeover cost of the Automated Enforcement System (AES) project from two companies, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook.
Commenting on yesterday’s statement by former chairman of LTAT Admiral (Rtd) Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor who described the decision to pay such an amount as “quite unfair and not in line with the concession agreement signed before this”, Loke stressed that his ministry is not bound by the deal signed between the board and the previous government.
He expressed his desire to sit down and discuss with LTAT but said the decision to pay back the RM555 million would remain unchanged “nothing more, nothing less”.
“We will not be bound by the previous government’s promises. As far as we are concerned, the cost (RM555 million) has been set.
“The government will not review the refund (amount) as it was a wrong decision by the LTAT to invest in AES.
“They (LTAT) thought the investment would be profitable.
“The former chairman was trying to justify that it was a good investment. However, let the LTAT members be the judge,” he told a press conference here today.
On Aug 17, Loke was reported as saying the Cabinet had agreed to refund the RM555 million to LTAT in phases after the money was used by the previous government to take over the AES system from the companies – Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd and ATES Sdn Bhd – in 2015.
He also revealed that RM295 million paid to ATES Sdn Bhd and RM260 million to Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd did not involve taking over a large number of assets, except for 47 AES cameras.
Yesterday, Anwar said LTAT was invited by the government to take over the AES project from the two companies to supply, install and maintain 1,093 AES cameras at several strategic locations nationwide.
It was also reported that the previous government, through the finance ministry, decided to take over the project from LTAT by paying back all its investment costs plus 12% returns per annum.