PETALING JAYA: The political secretary to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said Barisan Nasional had never reduced the toll rates during its administration and instead, they were increased every three years.
Tony Pua said that PLUS’ concession was extended twice under BN.
In 1999, it was extended for 12 years from 2018 to 2030, with a 26% increase of toll rates every three to five years till 2016.
Pua said in 2005, the concession was again extended for eight years from 2030 to 2038 with a 10% increase in toll rates every three years.
Then in 2011, the toll rates for PLUS highways were restructured to allow for an increase of 5% every three years.
“Even though the increased rates were not imposed on consumers, the government was forced to pay PLUS a compensation of over RM3 billion to freeze toll rates,” he said in a statement.
Pua said this in response to former prime minister Najib Razak who had been criticising Putrajaya’s recent decision to offer an 18% discount on toll charges for private vehicles using PLUS highways as early as next month.
Pua added that the restructuring by the Pakatan Harapan government would also mean that Putrajaya would not have to pay a single sen in compensation.
“This means that RM26 billion would be saved by the government which could be channelled for welfare and development purposes.”
He also dismissed Najib’s “achievement” of doing away with toll collections at three PLUS toll plazas since 2018, saying that the government still had to pay PLUS RM856 million in compensation.
Pua said it was obvious that Najib failed to fulfil the pledges in BN’s 2013 manifesto to reduce toll rates.
“I would like to remind him that BN had increased toll rates for other highways since 2015.”