by DASHVEENJIT KAUR / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
The government has agreed to postpone the abolition of tolls nationwide for now, as it would have to pay more than RM400 billion in compensation to highway concessionaires.
Works Minister Baru Bian said the government has other priorities in terms of monetary that need to be addressed at the moment.
“Upon reviewing factors and implications, the estimated compensation for abolishing tolls would be more than RM400 billion,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
However, he stressed that the new government will definitely do away with tolls.
“We are serious about it and will implement it, but just not yet,” he said.
Bian was responding to a question by MP Datuk Jalaluddin Alias (Barisan Nasional-Jelebu) who asked on the latest list of tolls that will be abolished by the government.
“The government is always working to fulfil the promises in Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto. However, this proposal is not easy (to be implemented), considering the current financial state the government is in,” he added.
According to the minister, the abolishment will be put on hold until the country’s economic situation improves.
The government, according to Bian, will look at other options to reduce the people’s cost of living.
“The government, through the National Cost of Living Council, will look into other options that are more practical and beneficial to reduce the cost of living for the people as a whole,” he said.
He also emphasised that the Pakatan Harapan-led government had never pledged to abolish tolls within the first 100 days, pointing out that the promise is a part of its manifesto for the 14th General Election.
“We are prioritising the country’s financial health and with RM1 trillion in debt and liabilities, we decided to delay the implementation of this promise.”