Highway takeovers based on govt’s capability, says PM

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says to abolish toll collections, the government must buy the roads, which will incur huge expenses. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, February 24, 2019.

PRIME Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said the takeover of highway concessions would be done according to the government’s capability.

He said talks with Gamuda Bhd to take over four highway concessions in the Klang Valley were the government’s first steps to fulfil its general election manifesto.

Since taking over the government, Dr Mahathir said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) had been thinking about how to fulfil its promises.

“We are focusing on what we can do, namely about the highways in Kuala Lumpur, but we will be expanding to other tolls in other areas. We are doing it according to our capability,” Bernama reported him as saying at a press conference after launching the national-level Kampungku Sihat programme at the Langkawi parliamentary constituency service centre today. 

Putrajaya had yesterday announced that it planned to take over four tolled highways and replace tolls with a congestion charge that will vary between peak and non-peak hours.

“Upon the successful takeover of the highways, the government intends to abolish the existing toll mechanism.

“In its place, a congestion charge will be introduced where commuters will only pay a congestion charge equivalent to the existing toll for six peak period hours a day,” the Prime Minister’s Office had said in a statement released yesterday.

During the off-peak period between 11pm and 5am, commuters will travel on the highways for free.

However, at other “normal” travelling hours, commuters will enjoy discounted rates of up to 30% compared with existing toll rates.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the government has commenced talks with Gamuda Bhd to negotiate the acquisition of the four highways.

The highways are the Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP), Western KL Traffic Dispersal System (SPRINT), Shah Alam Expressway (KESAS) and the SMART Tunnel.

On talks with Gamuda Bhd, Dr Mahathir said the process was being handled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

“We will start with a few tolls just based on our capability. To stop the toll collection, the government must buy these roads, which will cause huge expenses on the government.” – February 24, 2019.

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