Works minister says govt rethinking Gamuda’s four-highway takeover bid after new proposal

Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof speaks during a meet and greet with media practitioners at Kompleks Kerja Raya in Kuala Lumpur, April 6, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof speaks during a meet and greet with media practitioners at Kompleks Kerja Raya in Kuala Lumpur, April 6, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — The government is reviewing its initial rejection of a proposal by Gamuda Berhad to take over four highways, Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said today.

Fadillah explained that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration was initially decided against the highway takeover over concerns of increased financial commitment to the government.

“Initially, the Cabinet decided against acquiring Gamuda’s highways due to the concern of increased financial burden to the government.

“However Gamuda came back with a new proposal for a new scheme as what was done by PLUS, where the concession will be extended, with a fixed rate but that is now under review,” he said, referring to Malaysia’s largest highway concessionaire PLUS Expressways Berhad.

Fadillah also said another highway concessionaire Projek Lintasan Kota Holdings Sdn Bhd (Prolintas) is also offering to take over and has submitted its proposal to the government.

However, he said the government wants a uniformed solution for all highways concessions in the Klang Valley.

“We will inform the press in due time on the way forward, not just on Gamuda, but for all highways in the city.

“We have to look at the whole package, because there are highways that are profitable and there are those operating at a loss, so we have to look at the whole package to find a solution at the problem we are facing now,” he said after briefing reporters on the Works Ministry’s progress in the past year and the challenges ahead.

Fadillah said the government has to consider public interest and not burden road users with higher toll rates. He also said road users will not want to be stuck in traffic congestion on highways after paying tolls.

In June 2019, the Finance Ministry then under Pakatan Harapan control, offered RM6.2 billion to acquire four toll concessionaires within the Klang Valley: Lingkaran Trans Kota Sdn Bhd (Litrak), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat Holdings Sdn Bhd (SPRINT), Kesas Sdn Bhd, and Projek SMART Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Gamuda owns a 44 per cent stake in Litrak, a 52 per cent stake in SPRINT, a 70 per cent stake in Kesas, and a 50 per cent stake in SMART.

At that time, the Finance Ministry said that buying Gamuda would have given the government power to lower the toll rates of these highways, which would benefit the city’s low-income population.

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