KUALA LUMPUR: Motorists in the city centre will have to pay up to RM2 more on tolls if the government does not go ahead with its plan to take over the four highway concessions under Gamuda Bhd in the Klang Valley.
Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Ong Kian Ming said this was based on the concession agreement that the government has with Gamuda — which holds significant stake on the highways —claiming rates at two of the four highways would have seen an increase of anywhere between 25% to 67%.
“Let’s say if there has not been a change in government and this proposal to acquire the toll concessionaires is not put in place, the toll rate for the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP) would increase from RM2.10 to RM3.10.
“For the Western KL Traffic Dispersal System (Sprint Highway), rates would have been increased from RM2 to RM2.50 for the Damansara Link, RM2.50 to RM3.50 for Kerinchi Link and RM3 to RM5 for the Penchala Link.
“So instead of allowing this to happen, the government decides to compensate the concessionaires, with the added promises of off-peak toll discounts and no toll increases,” he said when opening a public forum on way forward for Malaysia, organised by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), here, today.
Apart from LDP and Sprint, the Finance Ministry has also handed over offer letters for the takeover of Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas) and the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART), with a combined enterprise value for all four highways of RM6.2 billion.
Gamuda had yesterday, in a filing with the stock exchange, said it has decided to approve the takeover offer.
Ong also dismissed criticisms that the takeover was a bail out by the government, claiming that commuters would be able to save up to RM180 million per year through the introduction of congestion charges, in addition to the government saving RM5.3 billion from having to pay compensation to concessionaires to freeze toll rate hikes.
“In addition, this will also take away the temptation for the government to extend the concession agreements in exchange for not paying the compensation to the concessionaires to avoid toll rate increase,” he said.
He also stressed that there would be no cost implication for the government in the takeover of the highways, claiming the funding would be covered by proceeds from the congestion charges.