PETALING JAYA: In a continuing spat over highway tolls, former prime minister Najib Razak has snidely questioned Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s understanding of the meaning of the word “cronies”.
Earlier today, Lim had said the Pakatan Harapan government, did not have to pay compensation to highway concessionaire PLUS, as was done by Barisan Nasional.
Najib responded, pointing out that the BN government had fully bought over PLUS and placed it under the Employees’ Provident Fund in 2011.
“What’s wrong for the government to pay yearly compensation to EPF? Are EPF members now considered cronies?” he said on Twitter, referring to Lim’s comment that BN’s style was to privatise profits and socialise costs.
In a separate posting on Facebook, Najib said the BN government was willing to pay annual compensations to EPF as it would benefit the people in the long run.
“Yes, I admit that the people are my cronies. What’s wrong with me taking care of the people?” he said.
Lim had criticised Najib for claiming that PLUS highway toll rates were never increased during his time in office. Lim said BN had allowed an increase of 5% in the toll rates every three years since 2011.
However PLUS toll rates had remained unchanged since 2005.
Under PH, no compensation was paid, he said and claimed that the toll formula used by PH was “superior in every aspect”.
PLUS Malaysia operates the North-South Expressway, NKVE, ELITE, Linkedua, LPT2, Seremban-Port Dickson Highway (SPDH), Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (BKE) and the Penang Bridge.
Khazanah has a 51% stake in PLUS while EPF holds the remaining 49%.
Last week, the government announced that the toll concession had been extended to 2058 with no increase in tolls over the next 38 years.