Takeover of highway concessions will take time: Azmin

25 Feb 2019 / 00:05 H.

SEMENYIH: The takeover of the highway concessions will take quite some time as various aspects will have to be considered so that it will not have a negative impact on the national economy, said Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.

He said the highway toll issue was an election pledge which must be fulfilled by the government but its effects would have to be scrutinised in ensuring that other development agenda would not be affected.

“We have to plan early and we have already started ... when all stakeholders have come to a decision, we will make an announcement,“ he told reporters after a meet and greet session with Kampung Pasir Baru residents in Hulu Semenyih here today.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement that the government had started talks with Gamuda Berhad to negotiate the acquisition of highway concessions for four main highways which the company has a majority stake in.

According to the statement, the government intends to abolish the existing toll mechanism upon successful takeover of the highways.

Based on the statement a congestion charge would be introduced where commuters would only pay the charge which is equivalent to the existing toll for six hours of ‘peak’ period a day.

During the “off-peak” period between 11pm and 5am, commuters would travel on the highway for free. At other “normal” travelling hours, commuters would enjoy discounted rates of up to 30% compared to existing toll rates.

The four highways involved in the talks are the Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (SPRINT), Lebuhraya Shah Alam (KESAS) and SMART Tunnel,

Meanwhile, Mohamed Azmin said it was not true that the announcement on the toll was to fish for votes for the upcoming Semenyih by-election as the matter had been discussed since eight months ago.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Anthony Loke when met at Kampung Baru Cina here said the government’s announcement on the takeover of the four highway concessions had nothing to do with the Semenyih by-election as the highways would not affect Semenyih.

He said the government would announce any good news as soon as the plan could be implemented, without having to delay or wait for a specific time. — Bernama

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