Toll abolished on one stretch, no rates hike on two highways

PUTRAJAYA: Toll for the Salak to Taman Connaught stretch of the East-West Link Expressway is set to be abolished by May, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced.

The Prime Minister also announced that the toll rates for the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Expressway and East Coast Expressway Phase One would not be increased for the next five years.

He said the decisions were made following a review of transportation costs, including restructuring the toll charges and to ease the people’s burden.

He also added that no compensation would be paid to the concessionaires of the three highways.

“In line with the 1Malaysia spirit, People First, Performance Now, I have asked toll concessionaires to carry out a review of the respective toll charges to help the Government prosper the country and lessen the burden of the people.

“Taking up the Government’s call, two corporate figures who are also major shareholders of a toll concessionaire, came forward with a toll restructuring proposal through the acquisition of assets, which will benefit the people,” he told a press conference at his office here yesterday.

Also present was Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor.

Najib said the Kuala Lumpur-Karak and East Coast Phase One expressways were owned by the two corporate figures, adding that he had also asked for the concession period not to be extended.

“The suggestion to acquire the concessionaire’s assets brought about the termination of the East-West Link Expressway concession ahead of its original 2018 expiry date.

“This means that expressway users will not have to pay toll anymore and its implementation date will begin once the documentation process is completed, expected in May 2011,” he said.

“I am also calling on other toll concessionaires to emulate these initiatives for the benefit of the people,” he said.

The concession of the East-West Link Expressway is held by Metramac Corporation Sdn Bhd.

On whether the initiatives would also be extended to other highways, including the major North-South Expressway, he said the matter was under consideration.

“Let’s do it one by one. I have got more good announcements,” he said.

Later, Najib flew to Kota Kinabalu and met Sabah Barisan Nasional leaders for an hour after arriving in the state capital for a two-day visit.

He then launched the 7ha Perdana Park at Tanjung Aru, developed and managed by state water concessionaire Timatch Sdn Bhd.

Najib also witnessed the signing of a master collaboration agreement between Singapore-based Parkway Health and state-affiliated firm Jesselton Wellness Sdn Bhd to set up the Kota Kinabalu Gleneagles Medical Centre costing some RM200mil.

The prime minister then flew to Tawau where he spent the night before his scheduled visit to Sabah’s pristine Maliau Basin today.

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