While members of the government continue to debate the proposed abolishment of highway toll collection, the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) has advised against doing so as part of its recommendations to the government, according to The Star.

The council’s chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin said that removing all tolls would be unwise given the country’s current financial climate. “We had submitted our proposal, and while the idea is to remove toll completely, at the current financial position it’s not wise to do it at this stage. I think the rakyat will be able to understand,” he told reporters.

Daim added that the CEP has also received numerous proposals from highway concessionaires on how to abolish tolls, although he noted that those proposals require more scrutiny. “Some of the proposals are not complete and everyone seems to have their own ideas,” he said.

A gradual abolishment of toll collection over five years was one of the promises made by Pakatan Harapan in its manifesto for the 14th general election, but the plan has been hit with a few speed bumps since the party claimed its shock victory in May. In July, works minister Baru Bian said that while the government is working hard to fulfil its promises, it “cannot rush into things” and that the people should be patient.

The following month, Baru claimed that the government may need to fork out up to RM400 billion to buyout concessionaires, later saying that the plan had been postponed indefinitely. This earned a rebuke from Damansara MP Tony Pua, who said that the final figure would not reach RM400 billion.