Pakatan Harapan (PH) will remove toll in stages within 100 days of governing if it wins the upcoming general election (GE), Sinar Harian reports.

“We will remove toll in stages based on concession contracts. The procedures of the abolishment in stages will be announced when we take over Putrajaya,” PH chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday after chairing the PH presidential council meeting in parliament.

Mahathir added that the opposition coalition will also scrap the goods and services tax (GST) within 100 days of taking power, while providing free public higher education. In PH’s GE14 manifesto, the opposition also promises targeted fuel subsidies to eligible groups and a reduction of excise duties on imported cars below 1,600 cc, to assist first-time car buyers.

In February, prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that he’s not a fan of tolls, but abolishing them isn’t that easy. “Take for instance abolishing tolls, oh very easy. It’s actually not, but I don’t believe that if you are charged toll a daily basis, it’s good for the rakyat,” he said.

“If it’s the North-South Expressway, if it’s the Karak Expressway, then yes, you only use them once in a while. But if you are paying tolls daily, twice, four times, anyone would be upset.

“So, I don’t believe that. My predecessor was a great believer in toll. I do not like toll. Which is why there is no toll on the Pan Borneo Highway for the people of Sabah and Sarawak. Batu Tiga, Sungai Rasau, Bukit Kayu Hitam, EDL (Eastern Dispersal Link), we abolished (toll collection) there.

“Wherever I can, I will abolish toll because I don’t think it’s good. It’s upsetting and creates jam, but we can do it because I have to unravel some of the earlier decisions, legacy problem. I will unravel what I think is not to the interest of the people of Malaysia, that I will do,” Najib added.

It’s GE time when all sorts of promises are made to lure voters, and the words ‘turunkan’ and ‘mansuhkan’ are popular. But bear in mind that many of the toll concessions were signed by previous administrations, some under Mahathir’s watch.