KUALA LUMPUR: The government today announced that all private vehicles using highways operated by PLUS Malaysia will be paying reduced toll charges as early as next month.
The highways include the North-South Expressway, NKVE, ELITE, Linkedua, LPT2, Seremban-Port Dickson Highway (SPDH), Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (BKE) and the Penang Bridge.
It said the move would see the toll rate for the North-South Expressway reducing from 13.6 sen to 11.15 sen per km.
“Upon its implementation, the new toll rate will be lower than the toll rate in 1999 (11.24 sen/km),” said a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office.
In return, the government agreed to extend PLUS concession period to another 20 years, from 2038 to 2058.
“This is to ensure PLUS can carry out the maintenance and operations of its highways without depending on the government,” it said.
The government said throughout this 38-year period, there would not be any toll increase.
It further said that the decision would not affect the government financially as it would no longer be required to compensate PLUS.
The previous concession contract provides for a gradual increase in toll charges on PLUS highways.
The new rates represent an 18% drop on toll rates for all private vehicles at all PLUS highways starting from Feb 1.
Putrajaya said the move would result in an estimated RM42 billion in savings for the government throughout the concession period.
“The RM42 billion savings can be used by the government on initiatives that will benefit the people,” the statement said.
PLUS will also remain as the sole service provider and hold all assets and liabilities.
The statement also said that national sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) will be retained as the shareholders of PLUS.
It added that the toll reduction would be subject to approval by PLUS’ shareholders.
“This decision was made based on a study done for more than one year, and thorough consideration by many parties including the ministries of works, finance and economic affairs.”
Yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that the government would not be selling the country’s largest highway operator to the public sector.
He said this was decided after the Cabinet studied five proposals from Maju Holdings, Widad Business Group, RRJ Capital as well as a joint offer by tycoons Halim Saad and Wong Gian Kui.
The government previously said it would study any proposal to acquire PLUS if it met the country’s demands and benefited motorists with lower toll rates.