THE Pakatan Harapan government must explain why it is proposing to impose congestion charges on four highways it plans to take over when it promised to fully abolish toll in its election manifesto, says MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
“Previously they promised to abolish the toll but now, not only are they failing to fulfil their promise, but they are rebranding it with congestion charges.
“It means they can still collect money even after the toll concession ends,” he told reporters yesterday.Earlier in the Dewan, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the government would not do away with toll charges, but motorists would pay less under the proposed RM6.2bil takeover of four highway concessions.
He said the takeover bid was for public interest.
In response, Dr Wee asked how congestion charges would see motorists paying less for toll.
Using the Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas) – which has nine years remaining for its concession – as an example, he said the toll could now go on forever.
“This will become a problem and burden the rakyat. I do not understand his argument on how this will benefit them.
“What is the rationale? We would still have to pay the congestion charges.
“Why must they still collect such charges even after the concession is over?” asked the Ayer Hitam MP.
He also expressed disappointment that the government did not explain how the highway takeover would benefit the people.
“The minister said the government would offer RM6.2bil to concessionaires to take over four highways via the issuance of bonds.
“My question is, who is paying for the bonds? In the end, the rakyat will have to pay for it,” he said.
He said the move amounted to giving an advance to the concessionaires, although they no longer had to be responsible for the highways.
He also urged the government to reveal revenues made by all the highway concessionaires.
Dr Wee noted that motorists did not have to pay anything when the previous government abolished the Batu Tiga toll in Shah Alam.
He said the current government was merely changing the name of the charges and giving some discounts for the highways they were taking over.
“That is not abolishing toll. If this is an exam, they will fail.
“We want the Ministry of Finance or Pakatan Harapan to collectively give an answer to the people and not burden them,” he added.