Allow Pan Borneo Highway to be toll-free, urges PBS

The previous federal government had decided that the Pan Borneo Highway should be toll-free to spur growth on the island. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) slammed the current federal government led by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad after the latest about-turn on its manifesto, this time on toll-free highways.

PBS secretary-general Johnny Mositun said Mahathir’s admission that Pakatan Harapan (PH) made the promises in the manifesto thinking that it could not win the election, and hence were aimed only at putting pressure on the Barisan Nasional (BN) government at the time, meant the coalition was unethical in its conduct.

“A good party, before announcing its manifesto to the people, would carry out thorough studies to make sure the promises can be carried out.

“Politicians should not simply make grand promises just because they want to win and then, after they actually win, brand their own manifesto ‘a big burden’,” he told FMT today.

Mositun said Mahathir, as a veteran politician, knew that the people will choose sides based on promises made by each competing party, including PH and Warisan.

Unfortunately, he said many were duped into thinking that these promises would be kept but instead, after more than five months, the PH government had made one U-turn after another on its promises.

“I am deeply concerned by this latest statement by Mahathir about the impossibility of having highways without imposing toll collection.

“As we all know, the previous federal government had decided that the Pan Borneo Highway should be toll-free as this road is set to play an important role in connecting the whole of Borneo, thus spurring growth on the island.

“Hence, I sincerely hope this latest U-turn will not include this crucial road network for the sake of the people here.”

On Friday, Mahathir said it was impossible to have toll-free highways, warning that the only way this could be done was by raising the price of petrol.

He also revealed that he had been against the pledge of toll-free highways in the PH manifesto.

“We made the manifesto thinking we would not be the government. Now we are the government, and this manifesto is a big burden,” he said at the conclusion of the inaugural Asean Leaders Gathering in Bali, Indonesia.