KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — More highway concession companies will be involved in talks on restructuring aimed at easing the financial burden of the people and the government, said Senior Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.

He said the government welcomed private companies to take over highway concessionaires for this purpose.

“The government welcomes the private sector to come forward with such terms, where concession companies will hand back highways to the government once they have settled their debts. This will be a relief to the people.

“… there will be negotiations on restructuring involving other highway concessions after this,” he told a special media conference here today.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the government had agreed with the proposed restructuring of four concessionaries, including Kesas Sdn Bhd, which manages Shah Alam Highway (KESAS); and Syarikat Mengurus Air Banjir dan Terowong Sdn Bhd, which manages Sistem Pengurusan Air Banjir dan Terowong (SMART).

The other two involved in the restructuring are Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat Sdn Bhd, which manages Lebuhraya Skim Penyuraian Trafik Kuala Lumpur Barat (SPRINT), and Lingkaran Trans Kota Sdn Bhd, which manages the Damasara-Puchong Highway (LDP).

Following private company Amanat Lebuhraya Rakyat Berhad’s (ALR) takeover of these companies, the toll rates for highways managed by them will not increase and will remain unchanged until the end of their concession periods.

The restructuring will also save the government from paying compensations from Jan 1, 2022 until the end of the concession periods and give net savings in toll subsidy payments estimated at not less than RM4.3 billion.

Fadillah said, however, the effective date of the takeover had not been finalised yet.

Elaborating on the restructuring, he said it would involve an extension of the concession period for three of the companies but SMART would have its concession shortened.

“However, an extension of the concession period is not an exclusive right of the concession company and is subject to traffic volumes and monitoring by the government from time to time,” he added.

Fadillah said with this restructuring method, there would no longer be any profit-oriented shareholders involving returns to shareholders in whatever forms including dividends.

He said the government could not neglect its obligations in the existing concession agreements as it would give a negative image to investors and affect interest to invest in the country.

“This is in line with the Privatisation Policy where private companies are still responsible for managing operations and maintaining these highways,” he said, adding that ALR is required to absorb all existing employees of the four concessionaires.

He said the government would not incur any expenditure for the takeover transactions and was not giving any guarantees for financing by ALR to undertake the restructuring of the four concession companies.

The government also would not have to bear any maintenance and operation costs following the restructuring of KESAS, LDP, SPRINT and SMART, he added. — Bernama