GEORGE TOWN (Jan 1): The abolition of the toll collection for motorcyclists on three routes effective last night was part of the government’s move to fulfil the Pakatan Harapan (PH) manifesto in the 14th General Election, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
He said the move was a step towards abolishing toll collection completely.
“But we have to accept the fact that the country’s financial position due to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal does not allow us to implement the move (abolition) immediately, this is what we are working on but we are now ready to restore our fiscal position first.
“We are not saying that now we have removed the toll collection for motorcyclists, that’s it … No, we will continue to work (abolishing toll). If the fiscal position is better than expected there could be more good news,” he told reporters after launching the upgrading of elevator project at the Bukit Gelugor Customs Housing, here today.
During the tabling of the 2019 Budget on Nov 2, Lim announced that the government would abolish the toll collection for motorcyclists on Penang’s first and second bridges as well as the Second Link Expressway, Johor, beginning Jan 1, 2019, with a financial implication of about RM20 million a year.
Lim, who is also Bagan MP, said he was confident the country’s fiscal position would recover within the next three years and he hoped the people would be patient and trust the PH government to revive the country’s economy.
“Of course, we must be vigilant as I said previously that within this three years we are confident that we can restore the country’s fiscal position and go back to the base to meet our goals and targets to become a high-income nation.
“But the people must work together and do not allow certain irresponsible parties to divide the people and try to cover up corruption scandals,” he said.
Asked whether the government would abolish the toll collection after the three-year period, he said the government would continue working towards the goal.
Meanwhile, commenting on oil prices, Lim rejected allegations by some quarters that what the PH government did was similar to the previous government.
He said the old method used by the Barisan Nasional government was different as the PH government had introduced a method to maintain the retail price of petrol at RM2.20 per litre through subsidies.