Deputy minister: Proposed highway takeover could save motorists up to 66pc on tolls

International Trade and Industries Deputy Minister Ong Kian Ming says intracity highway users  would have to pay between 25 and 66 per cent more in tolls if the Finance Ministry does not buy out four concessionaires in the Greater Klang Valley.  — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
International Trade and Industries Deputy Minister Ong Kian Ming says intracity highway users would have to pay between 25 and 66 per cent more in tolls if the Finance Ministry does not buy out four concessionaires in the Greater Klang Valley. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 ― Intracity highway users here would have to pay between 25 and 66 per cent more in tolls if the Finance Ministry does not buy out four concessionaires in the Greater Klang Valley, Ong Kian Ming asserted today.

The international trade and industries deputy minister told a forum today that the toll rate increases would affect the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP), Sprint, the Kerinchi Link and the Penchala Link.

“We are still committed to getting rid of tolls, especially in the Klang Valley. This is why Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has made the offer for Kesas, LDP, Sprint and the Smart Tunnel.

“I have gone through all the concession agreements. The rates for the tolls were set for increase. LDP rates will increase from RM2.10 to RM3.10. You will be paying RM1 more to get stuck in a traffic jam.

“For the Sprint (highway), the Damansara toll will increase from RM2 to RM2.50, Kerinchi Link will increase from RM2.50 to RM3.50 and Penchala Link toll rate will increase from RM3 to RM5,” said Ong.

He explained that the proposed takeover of the concessions is to prevent an increase of the toll rates.

Ong added that the move was also meant to eliminate any temptation for Putrajaya to extend the toll concessions in order to avoid compensating concessionaires for holding existing rates steady.

“This is what the previous government would do. They avoid paying compensation or allow an increase in toll prices by extending the period of operation,” said Ong.

He then reiterated Lim's explanation that the purchase will not have any impact on the government's finances as it can be funded via toll collection while allowing off-peak hour discounts for motorists.

The move is part of the Pakatan Harapan coalition’s bid to honour its election manifesto pledge to eliminate highway tolls in Malaysia.

Critics of the move contend that the buyouts offered were unjustified, claiming that some of the affected highways were either no longer eligible for toll increases or due to become toll-free in under a decade.

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