PUTRAJAYA: Motorists stand to enjoy up to 18% discount in toll rates on the North-South Expressway if the government agrees to the takeover of Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan (PLUS) in the Cabinet meeting next week, says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said the government must decide on this quickly because it has frozen toll hikes and needs to pay compensation to the highway operator.

He added that otherwise the compensation will keep on mounting.

"Any decision on the highways must ensure a 'triple-win’ – for the government, the company’s owners (Khazanah owns 51% and EPF owns 49%) and the public.

"We must also not be subjected to any increase in our debt burden," Lim told the media after the closing ceremony of the Financial Literacy Festival.

He said the ministry, Works Ministry and Economics Affairs Ministry along with Khazanah and EPF, had put forward a proposal to the Cabinet to ensure they (Khazanah and EPF) get value from any takeover which must also be beneficial to the country and road users.

"We feel we have to support our national trust and sovereign funds (Khazanah and EPF) also because it involves contributions of millions of Malaysian workers.

"EPF and Khazanah must not lose out, they must get fair value for their investment as otherwise it will have an impact on their value."

Lim said this also forms part of Pakatan Harapan's election pledge to cut toll rates.

Works Minister Baru Bian had said the Cabinet has requested for a re-tabling of the details on the takeover bid for PLUS.

Speaking about the e-wallet programme, Lim said the government will be contributing RM30 to each person who earns below RM100,000 a year but this amount will increase as the service providers will also be giving their own incentives.

He said the government wants to increase financial literacy among the public and small and medium scale companies.

He pointed out that big companies know the importance of fintech but a lot of small SMEs lack financial literacy and the also do not advertise their products online.

Lim said small businesses need to learn about the importance of financial literacy, how to package their products and advertise it online to attract buyers, who can be foreigners.

On Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun’s support for the proposal to cut the allowances of politicians and ministers, he said the ministry welcomes any kind of savings that can be made.

He said as this proposal involves ministers and other ministries, the decision to implement it should be made by the Cabinet.