PETALING JAYA: The Pakatan Harapan government has failed to fulfil its pledge to fully abolish tolls, says Umno Strategic Communications Unit.
It said the hopes of the people to enjoy toll-free highways were dashed as the Government has only halved the toll fares for the two days before Hari Raya Aidilfitri (June 13-14).
“This is clearly in conflict with Pakatan’s manifesto, which pledged to abolish tolls nationwide to alleviate the burden of the rakyat,” it said in a statement yesterday.
The statement said millions of road users have to fork out money for tolls, and it would be burdensome, especially for the lower-income group and those who have to travel long distances.
The statement said the Government may have realised that the abolition of tolls is “unrealistic and hard to implement”.
It added that it may be that the Government is still searching for concrete financial solutions should the tolls be abolished.
“It also shows that their manifesto pledges are only empty promises to bring in votes,” it said.
The statement also said the abolition of tolls would impact some RM53bil worth of bonds and Islamic bonds or sukuk issued by road concessionaires, citing a report by credit rating agency RAM Ratings.
It questioned how the Government can expect to bear the cost of clearing the debt owed to these concessionaires, and also how future highways would be funded.
“How can the construction of future highways, like the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Expressway (SUKE) under the firm Prolintas, be continued without toll collection?” the statement said, adding that the project would cost about RM48bil.
The statement said that most Malaysians understand the need for concessionaires to collect tolls due to the high costs involved for the land transfer, the construction of the highway and repair works.
“They are comfortable using toll roads to get to their destinations, as they understand it is built for their convenience,” it added.
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