Council of Eminent Persons to make toll announcement next week

Council of Eminent Persons member Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz speaks to the media at Ilham Tower in Kuala Lumpur May 17, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Council of Eminent Persons member Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz speaks to the media at Ilham Tower in Kuala Lumpur May 17, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — The Council of Eminent Persons is expected to make an announcement on toll concessions nationwide next week, said Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

When met after a series of briefings and a meeting today, the former Bank Negara governor said the Council was in the midst of engaging all stakeholders and working hard to find a feasible solution.

“The decision will be made very quickly because they (stakeholders) are supposed to come back to us next week. Work is very, very intense now.

“All of us are very committed to come up with a solution that is in the best interest of all Malaysians who are looking forward to things that are so much better. We hope we can make that happen,” she told reporters when met outside the lobby of Ilham Tower at Jalan Binjai here today.

Today, the five-member Council headed by former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin met with PLUS shareholders, including the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Khazanah Nasional, to discuss the toll-restructuring exercise.

The Pakatan Harapan government has promised to abolish all tolls within 100 days of winning Putrajaya, and the Council is tasked by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to make important economics decisions such as this.

EPF chief executive Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said a holistic solution is needed in such an exercise as it involved substantial investments.

“I think it is premature to suggest any particular solution. I don’t necessarily think so (that tolls will be scrapped within 100 days).

“We are looking at a holistic solution for tolled highways. You have to be mindful that a lot of money is invested through the capital market.

“Quite clearly there is a need to find a balanced solution,” he told reporters.

Khazanah Nasional managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, who met reporters after the briefing, refused to divulge what was discussed in the meeting, adding that the official statement should only be made by Daim.

“Today was about tabling the facts and the issues as we are beginning to look at how to address those issues.

“This (the removal of tolls) is one of the promises of the new government so we are working with the Council towards achieving that.

“It is still relatively early to talk about it and we have to respect the Council,” he said.

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