KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced today that you’ll be able to drive toll-free on all highways from January 20 to 21, in time for the Chinese New Year holidays on January 22 and 23. The prime minister said this will make it easier for everyone, “not just Chinese communities but also Malays, Indians and others,” to return to their hometowns and participate in the festivities together.
Drivers of all vehicles will be able to enjoy free tolls; unlike during the previous Hari Raya Aidilfitri period, however, there appears to be no waiver after the holidays. Anwar advised road users to follow all traffic rules and be safe on the roads, so that they’ll “avoid adding to the number of accidents which tends to increase every time we have a festive season.”
TNG Card, SmartTAG and RFID still required
For now, there are no details regarding the incentive, which will cost the government RM40 million to implement. Based on past experience, however, you will likely still be required to enter the highway using your Touch ‘n Go card, SmartTAG or RFID tag. This is simply to record traffic data; you won’t be charged any toll fares.
On closed toll systems such as on the North-South Highway, you will need to exit the highway using the same method that you entered the highway with. If you enter using your RFID tag, for example, you should also exit via RFID. If not, you will probably still be charged a heavy penalty.
Highway concessionaire PLUS has previously warned that dormant or expired TNG cards will be declined at toll plazas, so do bear that in mind. You can check if your TNG card is still valid by linking it to the TNG eWallet or check online via the TNG Portal.
When will the free toll period be in effect?
Anwar also did not mention what time the toll-free period will start and end, but it should start at 12:01am on 20th January and end at 11:59pm on 21st January, again based on past experience. PLUS has previously said that waivers are only applied once users exit the highway, and that is likely the case during this period.
This means you should be allowed to enter the highway before 12:01 am on 20th January and still enjoy the waiver, as long as you exit the highway after midnight. The flip side is that those travelling on 21st January will need to exit the highway before 11:59pm if they do not want to pay any toll fares. Highway operators will charge the full amount if you exit after the deadline, so it’s still best to ensure there is sufficient balance in your TNG card or eWallet.
What if I won’t be able to exit the highway before midnight?
If, for whatever reason, you won’t be able to reach your intended toll plaza before the deadline—perhaps there’s a heavy traffic jam, for example — PLUS has previously advised road users to take the nearest exit so that at least part of their journey will be toll-free. For example, if you’re driving from Kuala Lumpur (Damansara Toll Plaza) to Johor Bahru (Skudai Toll Plaza), you can exit early at Yong Peng Utara before 11:59pm to enjoy free toll (RM27.72 waiver) for that stretch. Then you can re-enter the highway via Yong Peng Selatan and pay RM9.10 for the rest of your journey to Skudai toll plaza.
What about if I’m not using the highway?
As always, federal and state roads are toll-free, but do note that the speed limit on these roads has been reduced by 10km/h from 18th January until 27th January. This means that if the posted speed limit is 80km/h, you should actually be driving at 70km/h. — SoyaCincau