KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 28): The freeze on toll hikes for highways and the abolition of motorcycle tolls next year are set to cost the government RM994.43 million, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
In a statement yesterday, Guan Eng said the freeze involves 21 highways and buses on eight additional highways.
The abolition of motorcycle tolls, meanwhile, is for the Penang Bridge (First Penang Bridge), the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge (Second Penang Bridge) and the Second Link in Johor, he said.
“The toll hike freeze for all vehicle classes on 21 highways will incur an estimated RM972.75 million in compensation payments to the relevant highway toll concessionaires for 2019,” he said.
“Additionally, the freeze on toll hikes for buses will cost the government another RM1.68 million,” he added.
The abolition of motorcycle tolls, meanwhile, will cost some RM20 million per year in compensation payments.
Guan Eng pointed out that the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led government is currently studying the best method to fulfil its 14th general election manifesto promise.
“The toll hike freeze is part of these efforts. On Dec 12, the cabinet had decided to freeze all toll rate hikes for all vehicle classes on 21 highways across the country that are eligible for an increase in 2019.
“This is a marked enhancement from the Budget 2019 announcement made on Nov 2, which froze all toll hikes next year for intra-city tolls only,” he noted.
The abolishment of the tolls was one of the promises included in the Pakatan manifesto, which the coalition was to achieve within the next five years if it were to come into power.
In October, however, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reportedly said it was not possible to have highways without the imposition of toll collection.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on Dec 28, 2018.