Only four highways in Malaysia are entitled to toll hikes in 2017, based on current concession agreements, according to minister of works, Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof. If the hikes are to be deferred, the government will have to compensate an estimated RM59.77 million in total.

The four highways are the Johor Bahru Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL), Kajang–Seremban Highway (LEKAS), Senai–Desaru Expressway (SDE) and the Guthrie Corridor Expressway (GCE). The last three highways last revised their toll rates in October 2015.

This was mentioned in a written reply to Lim Guan Eng, who asked about the amount of compensation required from the government should the toll rates not be hiked. In the Dewan Rakyat, the Penang chief minister also asked why the North-South Expressway (NSE) tolls had not been scrapped yet.

Fadillah said the NSE was built in 1989, and completed in 1994 at a cost of RM5.9 billion. This was borne by the concessionaire, while the government covered the costs of land acquisition. The highway concession was supposed to end by 2018, according to the original agreement in 1988, but efforts made to minimise the impact of toll hikes led to restructures in 1999, 2002 and 2011.

toll booth

“Under the last restructuring (2011), all expressway concessions under PLUS Berhad, including the NSE, have been standardised, that is ending on December 31, 2038,” Fadillah said.

By the end of 2015, the overall toll collected on the NSE was RM36.39 billion. Meanwhile, the total amount of compensation paid out to PLUS following the deferment in toll hikes until 2015 was RM917.1 million.

However, Fadillah explained that a high amount of toll collection may not necessarily lead to big profits. “On average, concessionaires are required to spend 45% to 50% from their earnings for loan repayment, overheads and operation (20%), as well as for repairs and upgrading (15% to 20%),” he said.

Only an estimated 10% of the profit from toll collection is disbursed to shareholders, Fadillah concluded.