It’s been revealed that the Pakatan Harapan government’s promise to abolish toll collection within 100 days upon taking office cannot be finalised. According to a report by The Star, CEO of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan told Bernama that the government had other monetary priorities to address at this time.

He also said the abolishment process is rather complicated and involves several parties. “We have given some suggestions and ideas (to the government) but ultimately, any toll restructuring is indeed a zero-sum game where one needs to make a payment whether or not it provides a balance between the users and the concessionaires,” he told the press after speaking at the Economic and Leadership Forum 2018 on July 28.

“I think the government also wants to be fair because toll removal and compensation to the concessionaires will transfer the burden to taxpayers, and I think that [being fair] is the priority of the government,” he said.

Pakatan Harapan said the Penang bridge would also be toll-free if it won in GE14

Earlier this month, works minister Baru Bian said the government was trying hard to fulfil promises in the GE14 manifesto. “What we have promised, we will have to do it,” he said, adding that the rakyat will have to be patient because the abolishment process cannot be rushed. A timeline of five years has been mooted to facilitate the complete removal of tolls.

Should the government take over all toll operators’ debt obligations through a privatisation deal, it will need fork out over RM55 billion, excluding compensation. Meanwhile, finance minister Lim Guan Eng said the promise to abolish tolls will be looked at once the country’s financial situation improves.