If you’re still holding on to the unrealistic dream of toll-free highways, here’s another reminder. Works minister Baru Bian has reiterated that there will be no abolishment of tolled roads until the country’s finances have recovered. However, the government is looking at certain measures to ease the burden on motorists’ wallets, Malay Mail reports.

“The government will not abolish tolls but we are discussing on finding alternatives. This includes lowering the toll rates, granting percentage discounts during off peak hours and maybe not raising the toll rates in the next two to three years.

“We will not abolish tolled highways until we reach a stage where our nation’s fiscal position is stable and has recovered to a healthy position,” he said in reply to a question by Sungai Besar MP Muslimin Yahaya in parliament.

When Pasir Mas MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari asked if Malaysians should abandon their dream for toll-free highways, the minister replied: “Whether or not the public is dreaming (for a toll-free highway), it is up to them. The policy is clear. There is no abolishment of tolled roads until the nation’s finances have recovered.”

Previously, Bian was quoted as saying the government would have to pay toll concessionaires an estimated RM400 billion in compensation if tolls were abolished. However, that big sum was disputed by Damansara MP Tony Pua, who is also special officer to finance minister Lim Guan Eng.

Prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had also come out to say that toll-free roads are not possible without a fuel price hike. “We made the manifesto thinking we would not be the government. Now we are the government, and this manifesto is a big burden. But, at that time, I was against it. I know to have a freeway… you cannot. The only way to have freeways and no toll is to raise the price of petrol,” the PM said.

The price of RON 95 petrol has remained at RM2.20 per litre since May 30. Abolishing tolls was part of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto.