The government is still studying and going through the most appropriate options to reduce the toll rates for Malaysian highways. Works minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said that he will also consider the financial burden that will be carried by the government in any option, and the impact to the economy.

“The government and highway concessionaires are studying various incentives and methods to reduce the toll rates on highways. The works ministry is also allowing the highway concessionaires to propose restructuring of the companies’ finances towards the goal of toll reduction,” he said at the Dewan Rakyat today while debating the 12th Malaysia Plan (RMK-12), reported by BH.

Fadillah added that all suggestions will be discussed between the works ministry, finance ministry, the public-private partnership unit (UKAS), the prime minister’s department and related agencies for a holistic decision.

In the RMK-12 that was presented last month, the government outlined its plans for the restructuring of the highway development model. The aim is to reduce the risk to the government while enabling concessionaires to carry out operations and maintenance of highways, and the generation of fair returns from toll fare collection.

The government will also explore options to ensure the viability of existing highway projects. The Highway Network Development Plan 2030 (HNDP 2030) will also have provision for “a mechanism for prioritising new highways and available funding options”. More here.

Not easy to find a win-win situation for all parties concerned. The government can’t be taking over all highways with public funds, so depending on the private sector is a must. All private companies are after profit, and all highway concessionaires have the agreements in place. Each time the government stops a toll price hike, it has to compensate the highway companies. The rakyat? Cheaper fares, of course.

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