KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has denied that he was behind the decision of to retain highway operator PLUS Malaysia Bhd under Khazanah National Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
He said the decision was made by only Khazanah and EPF as it was the “best decision” after carefully considering the offers from other parties, after Maju Holdings Bhd executive chairman Tan Sri Abu Sahid Mohamed’s media outburst yesterday.
“I didn’t decide on anything. I did see his proposal. We studied all the proposals made by different bidders,” he told the press, referring to Abu Sahid.
“The best decision was to allow the highway to remain with the owners.”
Yesterday, it was reported that Abu Sahid attacked Khazanah’s managing director Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, hours after the government announced its decision not to sell PLUS.
He called the decision “stupid” and questioned why it was not conveyed to him despite his company being invited to make an offer and accused Khazanah of “stealing money”.
Dr Mahathir also said the Cabinet decided that PLUS will be given a 20-year extension of the toll concession.
He said that with the decision, PLUS will be able to pay its debts and continue operating the biggest highway in the country.
PLUS holds five concessions — Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan Bhd, Expressway Lingkaran Tengah Sdn Bhd, Linkedua (M) Bhd, Konsortium Lebuhraya Butterworth-Kulim Sdn Bhd, and Penang Bridge Sdn Bhd in Malaysia.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister’s Office said toll charges for private vehicle users plying the PLUS-operated highways will be reduced by 18 per cent effective February 1 and there will be no toll hikes until 2058.