PETALING JAYA: Six highways will start lowering their tolls as early as Feb 1 and there will be no more toll hikes for the next 38 years, says the Prime Minister's Office.
In a statement issued on Friday (Jan 17), it said this was in line with the Cabinet's decision not to sell PLUS and to keep the Pakatan Harapan 14th General Election manifesto promise that tolls would be lowered until they could be completely abolished.
It added that the government would save RM42bil from not paying compensation to PLUS to maintain toll rates.
That money will now be used for other initiatives for the benefit of the people.
"The Cabinet decided on Jan 15 to lower tolls by 18% for all private vehicle users on all PLUS highways, as early as Feb 1.
"The implementation of the lowering of the tolls will be based on the approval of PLUS shareholders.
"The concession on all PLUS highway will be extended by 20 years from 2038 to 2058. This is to ensure that PLUS can afford to maintain the highway operation without depending on the government.
"Even though the earlier concession agreement provides for toll hikes, the latest Cabinet decision ensures there will be no more toll hikes until the concession ends after 38 years. No compensation will be made to PLUS for lowering of the tolls," said the statement.
The Prime Minister's Office further said that the government would no longer bear the burden of paying compensation to PLUS and this would save the government RM42bil.
"Khazanah Nasional Bhd (Khazanah) and the Employees Provident Fund will remain as the main shareholders of PLUS. This decision was made based on a one-year study and a wholesome consideration by the Ministries of Works, Finance and Economic Affairs," said the Prime Minister's Office.
The highways include North-South Highway (PLUS), New Klang Valley Express (NKVE), North-South Expressway Central Link (Elite), Malaysian Singapore Second Link (Linkedua), East Coast Highway Phase Two (LPT2), Port-Dickson-Seremban Highway (SPDH), Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (BKE) and Penang Bridge (JPP).
For example, the toll rate on PLUS will be lowered from 13.6 sen/km to 11.15 sen/km, which is lower than the rate in 1999 when it was 11.24 sen/km. Once implemented, a trip from Jalan Duta to Alor Setar would be RM45.50 as compared to RM55.50.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the Cabinet decided not to sell PLUS despite bids from private sectors and Khazanah itself.
"We have studied all the bids made by the private sector, and also the bid by Khazanah Nasional.
"We decided that the best way is not to sell PLUS to anybody, but to keep it with Khazanah Nasional and EPF," he said.
He added that people need not worry about the 20-year extension of the toll concession on PLUS, as the reduced flat rate, when compared against future ringgit rates, would be minimal.
"They (PLUS) have to reduce the toll rate by 18%, but remember, 18% is set at today's rate. That means, in 20 years' time, the 18% when compared with the ringgit rate then will not be very high," Dr Mahathir had said.
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