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Govt saves up to RM26b in compensation to PLUS: Tony Pua

22 Jan 2020 / 20:20 H.

PETALING JAYA: The government will save up to RM26 billion in compensation to PLUS Malaysia Bhd under the new highway concession agreement, compared with previous deals made during the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.

Political secretary to the Finance Minister Tony Pua said although the concession was extended several times, the toll rates were not reduced. He listed the times BN extended the concession and the percentage of toll rate increases.

In 1999, the concession was extended for 12 years, from 2018 to 2030, with a toll rate hike of 26% every three to five years.

In 2004, the concession was extended for eight years, from 2030 to 2038, with a rate increase of 10% every three years.

In 2011, a restructuring of the agreement was carried out so that the rate would be increased by 5% every three years, while the concessions for other highways under PLUS were extended until 2038, each with their own scheduled rate hikes.

“During BN’s time, over RM3 billion in compensation had to be paid by the government to the concessionaire to freeze toll rates,” he said in a statement today.

Pua was responding to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, who had criticised the government’s decision to offer an 18% discount on toll charges for private vehicles using PLUS highways as early as next month.

He also lashed out at Najib’s decision to abolish three PLUS toll plazas in 2018 as it had resulted in the government having to pay RM856 million in compensation, which it still owed.

The DAP lawmaker added that the interest of PLUS’ shareholders – Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Employees Provident Fund (EPF) would not be affected.

This, he said, is because the value of PLUS assets would not decrease under the restructuring exercise, while EPF’s dividend payments to Malaysians would remain unaffected.

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