PETALING JAYA: The government has begun talks with Gamuda Bhd to negotiate the acquisition of highway concession for four main highways as part of its promise to abolish tolls in stages, says the Prime Minister’s Office.
The four highways are Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (SPRINT), Lebuhraya Shah Alam (Kesas) and SMART Tunnel.
“Pakatan Harapan has promised in its election manifesto to take steps to acquire highway concessions and abolish tolls in stages, in accordance to the terms of the concession agreement.
“This is to alleviate the high cost of living for highway users.
“Upon the successful takeover, the government intends to abolish the existing toll mechanism,” it said in a statement.
However, a “congestion charge” will be introduced, equivalent to the existing toll for six hours of “peak” period a day.
During “off peak” periods between 11pm and 5am, highway users can travel for free.
“At other normal travelling hours, commuters will enjoy discounted rates of up to 30%, compared to existing toll rates,” it said.
The revenue collected will be channelled towards the operation and maintenance of the highways and repayment of borrowings.
Any surplus will go into a public transportation fund to improve the quality of public transport.
“Further details on the proposed exercise will be announced by the Finance Minister at the appropriate time,” it said.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported that notices have been “served” to all countries to respect Malaysia’s non-aligned position and its independence and sovereignty, warning against the involvement of big powers in the region.
In urging Malaysia and Asean to be forever vigilant, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said they must be careful not to let the fate that befell the Middle East to happen in the region.
“Don’t expect us to join you against your rivals and don’t expect us to fight your wars.
“We will welcome all who come to help us build a stable, prosperous, open and interconnected region.
“We will spurn all who come to dominate or divide our region into warring camps,” he said during the “Stand With Yemen” symposium and photo exhibition yesterday.
His speech was read out by Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
Dr Mahathir said should the region suffer the same fate as that of the Middle East, countries would be forced to buy ever-increasing amounts of weapons from the big powers to fight each other.
He said this would result in big powers and foreign countries gaining profit while Asean became progressively impoverished and unstable.
“We are already beginning to see the seeds of confrontation and rivalry in our region.
“Lines are being drawn. Bases are being built. Armadas are being readied. The pressure is on to take sides,” he said.
Malaysia, said Dr Mahathir, would work with friends in Asean to upgrade existing regional frameworks to ensure there was no room for intervention and that the growing rivalry between the United States and China did not lead to regional fractures.