The 20% toll rebate for frequent Touch ‘n Go users is to be stopped from January 1, 2014 onwards, according to a report by Sinar Harian.

The rebate was introduced in September 2009 as a “gift” to frequent highway users from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the occasion of his 100th day in office.

To qualify, motorists had to use the Touch ‘n Go card a minimum of 80 times for toll payment on any highway in Malaysia within a calendar month. The 20% rebate is given based on the total transaction amount, and can be redeemed via card reload at all 136 Touch ‘n Go sales counters.

Sinar Harian earlier reported that an estimated RM49 million worth of rebates have not been collected because of a lack of awareness of the rebate policy, cited as due to insufficient advertising.

Among those who were aware, however, some felt the redeeming process was too complicated while others did not bother. Sources told the Malay daily that around 100,000 people have claimed rebates, but only 70,000 have done so consistently.

This comes as a blow amidst proposed toll fee hikes. According to a report by The Malaysian Insider, works minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof was recently quoted as saying that rates for 15 major highways were expected to rise between 50 sen and RM2 next year, but that the Cabinet had yet to make a decision on the matter.

Other reports, however, indicate that the increase would be between 30 sen and RM1 for 13 highways.

Minister in the PM’s department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar was quoted by TMI as saying that the government had to pay RM400 million in compensation to toll concessionaires after it put on hold a revision of the toll rates that were supposed to be implemented in 2011 under the concession agreement.

In future, all highway projects must be accompanied by studies to determine acceptable rates to the public before concessions are awarded, he said.