Review of 18% toll cut will punish PLUS highway users, says Guan Eng

Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng says a review of the toll cut will burden motorists under the present economic conditions.

PETALING JAYA: Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng today slammed the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government for its intention to review the 18% toll cut on PLUS highways implemented under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration last year, calling the move “revenge politics”.

The DAP secretary-general said in a statement today that it would punish motorists using these highways, who would enjoy savings of RM500 million for this year alone from the reduced toll charges.

He said as a result of the PH policy, the government would save RM600 million in 2020 alone from not paying compensation to PLUS for deferring toll hikes.

Citing Penang’s first bridge, he said the toll was reduced to RM5.74 from RM7. For the second Penang bridge, the original toll of RM8.50, which was later revised to RM7, was reduced to RM5.74.

“The savings are most evident for the second bridge users who used to pay RM8.50 and now pay RM5.74, a saving of nearly RM3,” Lim said.

Works Minister Fadillah Yusof recently said a review of the discount would be brought to the Cabinet due to its impact on the National Privatisation Policy.

“Clearly, PN is practising revenge politics by dismantling bit by bit the policies implemented by PH, including the 18% toll discount on PLUS highways,” said Lim, who is also Bagan MP.

A review would also be a burden to motorists under the present economic conditions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said, adding that the move was “short-sighted and irresponsible”.

“PN should stop this 18% toll discount review if it has the best interests of the people at heart.”

The toll discount for PLUS highways was implemented in February last year as part of PH’s manifesto on the abolition of tolls. The toll rates will be fixed throughout the concession period, extended for another 20 years, from 2038 to 2058.

PLUS highways comprise the New Klang Valley Expressway, Seremban-Port Dickson highway, North-South Expressway Central Link, Malaysia-Singapore Second Link, East Coast Expressway Phase 2, Butterworth-Kulim Expressway and the two Penang bridges.