We address highways toll within our means, says Dr M

Dr Mahathir Mohamad launches the ‘Kampungku Sihat’ programme at his service centre in Langkawi. (Bernama pic).

LANGKAWI: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the takeover of highway concessions would be done according to the government’s capability.

He said talks with Gamuda Berhad to take over four highway concessions in the Klang Valley were the first steps taken by the government to fulfil its general election manifesto.

Since taking over the government, Mahathir said Pakatan Harapan (PH) had been thinking about how to fulfil their promises.

“We are focusing on what we can do namely the highways in Kuala Lumpur, but we will be expanding to other tolled highways in other areas. We are doing it according to our capability,” he told reporters here after launching the national-level “Kampungku Sihat” programme.

Mahathir said talks with Gamuda were being handled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

“We start with a few tolls just based on our capability, to stop the toll collection. The government must buy these roads (which) will cause huge expenses to the government,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Finance Minister Amiruddin Hamzah said Mahathir had recently created a special unit under PH, aimed at monitoring its manifesto to ensure it was not merely aimed at winning votes.

He said Mahathir was very concerned about the promises in the PH manifesto.

“The GE14 manifesto was drawn up with limited facts because, at that time, there were no facts in the public domain.

“So, when PH became the government, all promises had to be reformulated after all data and facts were examined, along with the new constraints,” he said.

On discussions with Gamuda, he said they revolved around issues such as compensation and maintenance of the highways.

Asked about the possibility of implementing discounts and abolishing tolls this year, he said: “Do pray a lot.”