【I’LL ASK CABINET TO RECONSIDER TOLL HIKES – ABDULLAH】
PATTAYA, Feb 26 (Bernama) — Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he will ask the Cabinet to reconsider the toll increase along five expressways between 0.68 sen and 50 sen effective March 1 because it was presently inappropriate.
He said the review would be discussed at the Cabinet weekly meeting tomorrow chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“Review is the best thing to do. After that we will make a just decision,” he told Malaysian journalists covering the Asean Defence Ministers Meeting here today.
The prime minister said although the increase was in accordance with the terms of the concession agreements signed between the government and the highway concessionaires, the decision given by the Cabinet several weeks ago might not be appropriate with the current situation.
A new approach would be sought to deal with the issue including allocations under the second stimulus package that would be tabled in Parliament next month, he said.
Works Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohamed announced today the toll increase would involve the North-South Expressway, Western Kuala Lumpur Traffic Dispersal System Expressway, Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway, Sungai Besi Highway and New Pantai Expressway.
Abdullah said since the Cabinet discussed and decided on the toll rates, the situation had not improved and this prompted the government to disburse aid allocations in the form of the second stimulus package which would be tabled as a mini budget.
“If the government itself has taken this approach in view of the difficulties faced by the people and besides that the economy can be stimulated, I think this thing can be discussed again in the Cabinet taking into account the present situation,” he said.
He refused to say whether the toll increase would be deferred but he did say that based on reports he had received, the people obviously could not accept the hike.
Any decisions had to take into consideration the present situation, he said.
【Toll Rates For Five Highways Will Be Increased On March 1】
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 (Bernama) — Toll rates for five highways will be increased from between 0.68 to 50 sen effective March 1, said Works Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohamed.
Mohd Zin said the increase was in accordance with the concession signed between the government and the respective highway concessionaires.
They are the North South Highway (PLUS), SPRINT (Kerinchi Link and Damansara Link), Ampang Kuala Lumpur elevated highway (AKLEH), Sungai Besi Highway (BESRAYA) and New Pantai Expressway (NPE).
Rates for Federal Highway Route 2 linking Batu 3, Shah Alam to Sungai Rasau, Klang and the North South Expressway would be increased from 13.60 sen per km to 14.28 sen per km, however it does not cover Bukit Kayu Hitam, Tambak Johor and Bangunan Sultan Iskandar.
Toll rates for SPRINT, AKLEH, BESRAYA, and NPE will see an increase between 10 sen and 50 sen.
For SPRINT, the increase is 50 sen at Pantai toll plaza and 30 sen at Damansara toll plaza, AKLEH toll rates will be increased by 50 sen, BESRAYA by 10 sen and NPE by 40 sen.
He added that toll rates for PLUS, SPRINT and AKLEH were supposed to have been increased starting Jan 1, 2008 but was delayed for 14 months and it cost the government RM245 million in compensation.
PLUS was paid RM177 million, SPRINT received RM38 million while another RM30 million was paid out to AKLEH, he said.
The Works Minister added that the increase in toll rates was approved by the cabinet, following an appeal by the concessionaires.
He added that since the concession for toll, signed between the government and concessionaire, has become a public documents, the public can view such documents to see for themselves, the details contained in the agreements.