Govt mulls alternatives to toll abolishment

By P PREM KUMAR & ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By TMR

The government is considering alternatives and options including flat rates and discounts that could be introduced to alleviate the people’s burden after the plan to abolish toll collection was deferred.

Works Minister Baru Bian said the government is still discussing on the options and will make a decision within the next few months.

“We are looking at other alternatives such as reducing toll rates or introducing flat rates, giving 20% off-peak discounts and maintaining toll rates for the next two to three years.

“We are still in discussion. We cannot abolish the toll until our financial status improves,” Bian told the Dewan Rakyat.

He was responding to a question from Sungai Besar MP Muslimin Yahaya.

The Pakatan Harapan government pledged to abolish tolls under its election manifesto, but has since deferred the promise after winning the general election, citing the nation’s tight fiscal position and the high costs of the endeavour as reasons.

Baru said the government will stick to its stand to not abolish tolls until the government’s financial health is restored.

Meanwhile, the government will wait for the results of a feasibility study on the crooked bridge project linking Johor to Singapore before it makes a decision.

Baru said the government will decide on whether to pursue Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s idea to revive the infamous half-bridge project once the study is completed.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian said Dr Mahathir re-proposed the crooked bridge to the state government at a meeting last month and the state is positive on the idea.

Federal government politicians, however, have expressed reservations about the construction of the six-lane S-shaped highway, given the challenging economic state of the country.