Cheap monthly pass plan will be costly, says minister

Transport Minister Anthony Loke speaks during a press conference after visiting SPAD in Kuala Lumpur June 1, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak
Transport Minister Anthony Loke speaks during a press conference after visiting SPAD in Kuala Lumpur June 1, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — Putrajaya’s plan to introduce a RM100 unlimited pass for city public transit will have a huge financial implication on the government’s budget, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said today.

The Seremban MP said the policy proposal will have to be carefully studied first as the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration attempts to rein in the government’s staggering debt, which its leaders claimed to have reached RM1 trillion.

“We have looked at how we can implement this, but we are told that it would have a huge financial implication,” Loke told reporters after visiting the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) office here.

The proposal was a key election pledge by the PH coalition, which promised to made public transit more affordable

Loke did not reveal the policy’s estimated cost.

“I have the figures but I think it’s better to let the Cabinet look at them first,” he said.

“Any projects with huge financial implications, the MoF (Ministry of Finance) will need to approve.”

The PH administration has undertaken massive spending cuts to rein in the national debt, which Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said has reached RM1 trillion.

It had already scrapped several major infrastructure projects to save cost, including rolling back the unpopular Goods and Services Tax (GST), a move estimated to slash income by RM20 billion.

GST accounted for a fifth of total government revenue last year.

Despite tightening its purse strings, Putrajaya said it would commit to deliver key election pledges like scrapping tolls.

These policies are expected to trim revenue further, but Dr Mahathir had said the cost-saving measures and increase in revenue from stronger crude oil prices will help offset the losses.

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