Instead of hikes, toll charges for the North-South Expressway should be abolished instead, Lim Guan Eng said today, reported by Malay Mail Online.

The chief minister of Penang said that the North-South Highway has fully recouped its construction cost and capital expenditure of RM5.9 billion. He was referring to works minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof’s statement that toll collected for the North-South Highway amounted to RM36.39 billion at the end of 2015.

“Furthermore, the total amount of compensation paid out by the federal government to PLUS following the deferment in toll hikes until 2015 was RM917.1 million. In other words, this RM36.39 billion collected from Malaysians is six times more than the construction cost of RM5.9 billion,” Lim said in a statement.

The Bagan MP added that the costs incurred in land acquisition for the highway were covered by the federal government. “Even if we took into account maintenance and widening of roads, such extra costs cannot exceed the RM36.9 billion collected from the public,” he reasoned.

The politician then demanded to know the annual maintenance costs of the North-South Highway. “Since PLUS has recouped its capital expenditure, why have the toll rates not gone down to reflect only maintenance costs?” he asked.

It was reported yesterday that the government had agreed to postpone the rise of toll charges for 2016 and 2017, and operators of the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL), Kajang-Seremban Highway (Lekas), Senai-Desaru Expressway (SDE), and Guthrie Corridor Expressway (GCE) will be getting RM59.77 million in compensation.