The government says that toll collection is set to continue for the foreseeable future because it does not have the means to absorb the financial impact if collection is abolished, The Sun reports.

In its GE14 election manifesto, Pakatan Harapan (PH) stated it would abolish highway tolls in stages. Because it would cost the government RM400 billion to abolish tolls in one go, works minster Baru Bian says that PH has decided to put the matter on hold indefinitely until the country’s financial situation improves.

“After taking into account this factor (of having to fork out RM400 billion), the government has agreed to postpone the proposal to abolish tolls until our economy really stabilises and allows for it. The government will, however, study other options that we may deem to be more practical in order to reduce the cost of living for the rakyat,” he said at the Dewan Rakyat.

Last month, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) CEO Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan had said that highway tolls could not be abolished within 100 days as the government had other monetary priorities to address at this time. He added that the abolishment process is a rather complicated one involving several parties.

“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. 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 had then said.