Rebutting Najib, who had been criticising Putrajaya’s recent decision to offer 18% discount on toll charges for PLUS highways.
PH’s “triple win” with new PLUS deal:
- Lower toll rates with 18% discount, no toll hikes till 2058
- No compensation to PLUS
- No harm to shareholders, as does not affect value of PLUS assets
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government achieved a “triple win” by giving Malaysians lower toll rates on PLUS highways without needing to compensate the concessionaire or harm its value to shareholders, Tony Pua told Najib Razak today.
Pua, the political secretary to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said Barisan Nasional (BN) had never reduced the toll rates during its administration and instead, they were increased every three years.
Pua added 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.
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 Najib 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.
“On the contrary, with the new structuring by the PH government, the public will enjoy toll reduction for the first time in the history of PLUS highways, that is an 18% discount from the current rate,” the Damansara MP said, referring to the toll discount that will kick in from February 1 onwards.
While the toll concession period was extended from 2038 by another 20 years to end in 2058, there will be no toll hikes until the end of the concession in 2058, the government said.
“With the structuring that will be implemented by the PH government, the toll rate will be frozen throughout the concession with an 18% discount without requiring one cent of compensation at all from the government.
“This means RM26 billion in compensation can be saved by the PH government throughout the concession as compared to the toll rate during Najib’s time. This huge sum will be allocated to citizens throughout Malaysia, including Sabah and Sarawak in the form of welfare and economic development, and not to highway toll companies,” Pua added.
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.
The DAP lawmaker said the new plan meant this RM856 million no longer must be paid, enabling the federal government to reallocate this sum to other spending benefiting Malaysians.
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.”