Study on tolled highway completed, Cabinet to review this month

The study was aimed at suggesting reasonable options that can be accepted by all stakeholders

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE study on tolled highways and its future direction has been completed and will be presented to Cabinet this month, Works Minister Baru Bian said.

“The study has been completed and circulated to all the ministries. I expect it would be presented before the Cabinet this month,” Bian said at the groundbreaking ceremony of IJM Corp Bhd’s new industrialised building system (IBS) plant in Bestari Jaya, Selangor, yesterday.

“The Cabinet will decide based on the recommendations made,” he added.

Bian, however, said the proposal is about the future of tolled roads in Malaysia, and not related to the Finance Ministry’s (MoF) recent RM6.2 billion takeover bid on four highways in the Klang Valley.

“The study has nothing to do with the takeover bid. The RM6.2 billion proposal is very specific to Gamuda Bhd,” he added.

Bian previously said in a statement that the ministry has appointed certified audit consultants last January to study the toll industry holistically.

He said the study was aimed at suggesting reasonable options that can be accepted by all stakeholders to minimise the financial burden of the government and ensure that the operations and maintenance standards of the highways are not affected.

Last June, the government via MoF announced a plan to acquire Damansara Puchong Expressway, Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat, Shah Alam Expressway and Syarikat Mengurus Air Banjir dan Terowong Sdn Bhd Highway.

The proposal has been met with mixed responses from industry pla-yers and economists considering that the price is high and would only benefit people at selected areas.

The Malaysian Reserve reported last month the proposal is not a done deal as several Cabinet members have also expressed their concerns over the impact to the country’s already stretched fiscal burden.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah said the government will carry out a due diligence process to determine the final value of the highways.

Meanwhile, Bian said the IJM’s IBS facility represents another frontier in the smart manufacturing of the construction industry.

IBS is a construction technique whereby components are manufactured in a controlled environment, either on- or off-site, and then transported and assembled into structures.

IJM CEO and MD Datuk Soam Heng Choon said smart manufacturing is capable to reduce construction time by up to 40% compared to conventional methods.

IJM invested approximately RM165 million into the state-of-the-art, fully automated IBS plant called IJM IBS Pusat Bina Bestari facility.

The IBS plant has an annual output capacity of 500,000 sq m, or equivalent to 3,000 homes. The construction is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter next year.

IJM is one of the largest precast concrete pile manufacturers in South-East Asia with 11 factories and an annual output capacity of two million tonnes.

The government has made IBS compulsory for all private projects worth above RM50 million and to achieve a minimum IBS score of 50, to drive adoption of the construction technique.

IBS technology is in line with Industry Revolution 4.0 agenda for the construction industry.