KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong said the announcement by PLUS Malaysia Berhad that toll rates will be reduced by 18 per cent is in line with Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) election promise, which is to renegotiate unfair toll concessions, and gradually take over and abolish tolls.
Liew said under the previous administration toll rates had been going up, and compensation to toll concessionaire had also been on the rise.
“Following the renegotiation with PLUS, PH will be able to solve several long-standing issues, among them are reduction of toll rates, ensuring no increase in toll rates until 2058, the government no longer needs to come up with any up-front payment and do not have to compensate PLUS in future, saving taxpayers RM42 billion.
“The old contract signed by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government allows PLUS to increase its toll rates by 5 per cent every three years, and every time BN wanted to stop the price increase, it had to use public funds to pay compensation to PLUS. In contrast, Pakatan’s re-negotiated contract is more beneficial to the people,” he said in a statement today.
The deputy defence minister said the government has successfully reduced the toll rates for PLUS-owned highways and locked-in the price to ensure no toll increase until 2058.
“The next thing on the government’s “To Do List” should be to consolidate high-quality public transport infrastructure that will allow more people to benefit instead of getting into high debts via hire-purchase loans for private vehicles.
“In the long run, this will reduce the historical baggage faced in regulating highway concessions,” he added.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in a statement said the toll charges for private vehicle users at PLUS operated highways will be reduced by 18 per cent effective February 1 and there will be no toll hikes until 2058.
The PMO said the important decisions pertaining to PLUS, as well as for Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to remain as its shareholders, along with the reduction in toll rates, were made at the Cabinet meeting on January 15.
In line with this decision, the concession period for all PLUS highways has been extended by 20 years from 2038 to 2058 to ensure that PLUS to be able to carry out their highway maintenance and operation activities without depending on the government.
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