Everyone wins in highway takeover plan, says Guan Eng

Lim Guan Eng defends the government’s plan to introduce a congestion charge on four tolled highways.

PUTRAJAYA: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today defended Putrajaya’s proposed acquisition of four highways, saying it would benefit all stakeholders.

Lim said the acquisition will save taxpayers from paying compensation of approximately RM5.3 billion to toll concessionaires.

“This is in relation to the continued freezing of toll rate hikes until the end of the respective concession periods.

“Commuters will also save up to RM180 million per annum with reduced traffic jam during peak hours.

“These savings will go straight into the disposable income of Malaysian households,” he told reporters today.

Putrajaya had announced that it was in talks with Gamuda Berhad to do away with tolls and introduce congestion charges on Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (SPRINT), Lebuhraya Shah Alam (Kesas) and the SMART Tunnel.

The congestion charges are to be enforced for six hours during peak periods of travel every day.

Under the plan, toll charges would be maintained during peak hours, while a 30% discount is given during off-peak hours. The highways are toll-free between 11pm and 5am.

Lim said the amount collected from the congestion charge could service the debt arising out of the acquisition as well as to finance the operation and maintenance of the highways.

He said any surplus collection will go towards improving the public transport system.

The acquisition exercise, he said, is expected to take up to six months to fulfil legal, regulatory and financial requirements.