Guan Eng rebuts Najib’s claim of increase in long-term toll charges

The Prime Minister’s Office has said there would not be any toll increase for the next 38 years.

KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng rubbished claims by former prime minister Najib Razak that Malaysians will have to pay more for tolls due to a projected increase in toll collection revenue.

In a bar chart he shared on Facebook on Sunday, Najib said despite the government announcing an 18% reduction in toll rates last week, operators PLUS Malaysia would collect 73% more revenue over the 20-year extended toll concession.

“It cannot be a straight-line calculation. There is also a discounting factor,” Lim told reporters today after launching state-backed Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan Berhad’s (SJPP) Budget 2020 schemes at a hotel here today.

“For him (Najib), if he benefits, he talks in a straight line. If he doesn’t benefit, he talks in a crooked line. There is a discounted value when you discount over so many years and don’t forget that under the original terms, there is also an increase,” Lim said, adding that PLUS would disclose more details by the end of the month.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday announced that the government had decided not to go ahead with the sale of highway concessionaire PLUS Malaysia, despite the interest shown in the country’s largest toll operator by five parties.

State-run Khazanah and EPF hold a 51% and 49% stake in PLUS respectively.

PLUS operates the North-South Expressway, NKVE, ELITE, Linkedua, LPT2, Seremban-Port Dickson Highway (SPDH), Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (BKE) and the Penang Bridge.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Office said there would not be any toll increase for the next 38 years. The concession agreement ends in 2058.

Najib and Lim have been sparring over the issue since the announcement.

“In the end, the former prime minister admitted that during the concession’s 10-year extension in 2015, 5% would be raised every three years,” said Lim.

“After that, he tried to find excuses to justify himself by saying that the money was going to EPF (Employees Provident Fund) and that EPF belongs to Malaysians. But how much is its contribution to EPF?

“The dividend given to EPF is just 0.5%. I ask you, would you want 0.5% (dividend) or an 18% reduction?” the finance minister asked.