toll booth

According to news reports, the government has not made any decision on the increase in toll rates, but Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said it is continuing to look into the issue very closely.

Citing higher operating costs, highway concessionaires have been requesting for an increase, but negotiations between the government and the 30 concessionaires are still ongoing, he said. He added that although the concessionaires were entitled to raise toll rates as stipulated in their contracts, there had been no increase in rates since 2008.

Fadillah pointed out that if the toll rates were not increased this year, the government will have to pay compensation to 23 concessionary companies involving 30 highways nationwide.

TnG SmartTag

“If we don’t increase rates based on the concessionaires’ agreements this year, the Government will have to pay them RM580 million in compensation. And by next year, this amount can be RM1.6 billion,” he told reporters. He said that this sum could otherwise be used for other purposes such as building roads, schools and hospitals.

Fadillah said that any decision made would have to strike a balance. “Can the government afford to pay compensation? That must be taken into consideration. If we allow a toll hike, we also need to take into account the interests of the people who do not want it to be implemented,” he said.

Elsewhere, in related news, the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) reiterated that 12 more toll plazas in the country will go fully cashless starting at noon from September 9 onwards – the list can be found here in an earlier report. They are all set to switch to the all-Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system, requiring the use of SmartTAG, Touch ‘n Go or PLUSMiles card.