KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Harapan has clarified that it will not abolish tolls altogether if it takes over Putrajaya, promising instead to end toll charges nationwide in stages.
This was revealed by Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who said the tolls will only be abolished based on the contracts the government had signed with concessionaires.
“Toll charges will be abolished according to the contract with concessionaires,” he said during a press conference after a Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting in Parliament today.
The PH general election manifesto, released last month, had among other things pledged to abolish toll collection and the goods and services tax (GST), as well as restore the fuel subsidy for the people.
However, at a forum on Sunday, Mahathir had raised some concerns about the coalition’s ability to abolish tolls.
Mahathir said based on his own experience, having led the government for 22 years, he knows that revenue from tolls could be used to maintain and expand roads.
The former prime minister also told the forum that Malaysians should think twice before complaining about high toll rates as they were not paying as much as the people in other countries when it comes to toll charges.
Calling Malaysia’s toll rates among the lowest in the world, Mahathir spoke of a bridge he had travelled on in Japan which imposed an exorbitant toll, with users having to pay RM270 just for a one-way journey.
This is not the first time that Mahathir has spoken up on the issue of tolls.
Back in January, Mahathir defended his administration’s policy to collect toll from road users after being criticised by Prime Minister Najib Razak for being the “father of all tolls”.