SEMENYIH, Feb 25 — The government is proposing to take over highway concessions in the country in stages and through the correct process, says Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
He said the highway takeover process needed comprehensive discussions such as reviewing the agreements as well as the financial implications involved after the takeover.
“One by one (toll takeover), just now you (reporters) said the huge financial burden when implementing the takeover.
“When the government takes over four toll concessions, there was mention of the inabiity to pay and now there is call to acquire one more,” he told reporters here.
He was commenting on the statement of Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan who asked why was the government not taking concession company such as Plus Malaysia Berhad (PLUS).
Last Saturday, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement that the government has begun negotiations with Gamuda Berhad to take over the concessions of four highways in which the company is holding majority equity.
According to the statement, the government intends to demolish the existing toll mechanism when it succeeded in taking over the highways.
Based on the statement, a congestion charge will be introduced with the existing rate for six hours at peak time daily.
During off-peak period from 11pm to 5am, usage of the highway is free. For regular hours, motorists will enjoy a 30 per cent discount from the existing rate.
The highways involved are Damansara Puchong Expressway (LDP), Western KL Traffic Dispersal System (SPRINT), Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas) and the SMART Tunnel. — Bernama