To fulfil its promise to abolish highway tolls, the current administration is working towards eliminating toll collection in stages. During the tabling of the 2020 Budget, Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng, has announced that Malaysians can look forward to an average discount of up to 18% at all highways operated by PLUS starting next year.
According to the Minister, the Cabinet is considering all proposals including Khazanah Nasional Berhad’s suggestion to take over or to dispose of all shares in PLUS Malaysia Berhad. The Government will evaluate proposals based on its positive fiscal impact while not increasing the debt shouldered by the Government.
He added that the toll discount as much as 18% will translate to RM1.13 billion worth of savings to highway users for the year 2020 and RM43 billion throughout the remaining years of the highway concession that will end in 2038.
In addition, the Cabinet has also approved the takeover of four major highways in the Klang Valley namely Lebuh Raya Shah Alam (KESAS), Lebuh Raya Damansara-Puchong (LDP), Lebuh Raya Sprint (SPRINT) and Smart Tunnel (SMART).
The Government will introduce a congestion charge that will be imposed during peak hours and the charges will be 30% lower than the current toll rates during normal hours. There will be no toll during offpeak hours for these highways. According to Lim Guan Eng, this will provide savings as much as RM180 million per year or RM2 billion savings until the end of the highway concession period. The current highway concession period will not be extended and it will end according to the current agreement.
He added that the four highway takeover will not burden the Government as the operations and maintenance will be paid for by the toll collection and congestion charges without requiring additional funding from the Government.
For Penang, the Government will abolish toll charges for motorcyclist on the two Penang bridges starting 1st January 2020. For passenger cars, the toll charges for the second Penang bridge will be reduced from RM8.50 to RM7.00.