GEORGE TOWN, Nov 2 — Penang lawmakers welcomed Putrajaya’s decision to abolish tolls for motorcyclists using both Penang Bridges.
Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Zairil Khir Johari and Bertam assemblyman Khaliq Mehtab Mohd Ishaq said the abolishment of toll collection will benefit the lower-income group the most as the majority travel by motorcycle.
Today, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced in Budget 2019 that the tolls for motorcycles for both bridges, as well as the Second Link in Johor, will be abolished effective January 1 next year.
Zairil, Khaliq and Kebun Bunga assemblyman Jason Ong Khan Lee also welcomed the many measures and programmes for the B40 group.
“The B40 group needs government assistance and the focus on them in the Budget is good,” Khaliq said.
Ong said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government tried to take care of the social welfare of the B40 group, civil servants and the poor, while also helping first-time home buyers with easier financing despite the federal government’s financial constraints.
“The cancellation or postponement of not-so-urgent mega projects demonstrates prudence and helps to give back to the people,” he added.
Zairil concurred, saying: “First-time home buyers are welcomed in Penang as we have more than 30,000 people who have applied for affordable housing in Penang.”
Ong said the Budget will create certainty and send a clear message to investors that the government is putting more effort into curbing corruption and increasing efficiency and competitiveness.
Khaliq said the proposal of a Fiscal Responsibility Act to keep a check on government expenditure is a good move.
“I hope it comes into force soon as it can monitor and curb excess spending,” he said.
He also welcomed the targeted petrol subsidies for those with cars below 1500cc and motorcycles below 125cc.
He hoped there is an effective mechanism for this targeted subsidy to ensure only those in the targeted group will fully benefit from it.
The introduction of tax-free incentives to Penang’s Swettenham Pier in the form of duty-free shops will boost Penang’s tourism industry, Zairil said.
Ong added this was a good step towards making Penang a free port.