Dr M says abolishing tolls will burden govt's finances

The revised East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) will see Malaysian contractors having a 40% participation in the RM44bil project, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

PUTRAJAYA: Despite an earlier pledge to abolish tolls, the government has acknowledged that the move will be a burden to the government's finances.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that it would cost the government RM30bil to abolish tolls on the North-South Expressway.

"This money can be better spent to pay debts and will ease the government's financial burden," he said to reporters after chairing the National Finance Council here on Monday (May 27).

The Prime Minister was commenting on a statement by Council of Eminent Persons chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin, who said that since the government is in its second year, it should focus on issues affecting the people.

Daim said this includes affordable housing, the cost of essential goods and the reduction of toll rates.

Dr Mahathir said the government is getting feedback from the private sector on how toll rates can be reduced.

"However, we have not decided on anything for now," he said.

The Prime Minister also announced that the Federal Government will share the tourism tax collection with state governments.

With half of the revenue given to the states, Dr Mahathir said this could help them improve their infrastructure and promote tourism.

The government charges a flat rate of RM10 per room per night on foreign tourists.

The tax was introduced in September 2017.


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