SEMENYIH: Plans to reduce and abolish toll rates are not a vote-buying tactic as they have been in the works for a while, PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The Port Dickson MP said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had informed him of the detailed plans to negotiate the acquisition of highway concessions for four main highways about three weeks ago.
"I don't see it as vote-buying because we prepared the plans earlier," he said adding that the move was a good start in lightening the people's burden.
Anwar was responding to talk that the Pakatan Harapan government had timed negotiations to remove the toll system strategically in hopes of winning the Semenyih by-election.
The Government has begun talks with Gamuda Bhd to negotiate the acquisition of highway concessions for four main highways, said the Prime Minister’s Office.
The four highways are the Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (SPRINT), Lebuhraya Shah Alam (KESAS) and SMART Tunnel.
In a statement, the Prime Minister's Office said that once the take-over is complete, the Government would eventually abolish the existing toll mechanism.
Instead, road users would have to pay a congestion charge where they have to pay an amount equivalent to toll rates during a six-hour peak-period daily.
During off-peak periods between 11pm and 5am, road uses can use the highway for free.
At other normal travelling hours, commuters can enjoy discounted rates of up to 30% compared to existing rates.
Lim is expected to announce more details on the move at an "appropriate time".
In its manifesto during the 14th General Election, Pakatan had promised to take steps to acquire highway concessions and abolish the toll collection in stages according to the terms of the concession agreement.