The works ministry says it will appoint an independent auditor in January to study the issue of toll collection, and will assist the government in obtaining data and recommendations pertaining to the matter, Bernama reports. The analysis will include the reduction of toll rates in the short, medium and long term, said works minister Baru Bian.

“On Oct 31, the cabinet, after considering the direction of toll collection in the country, has agreed to appoint an independent auditor. The analysis results are expected to be submitted to the cabinet for consideration and consent in May next year,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.

He was replying to a question from Jelutong MP R. Sanisvara Nethaji Rayer, who asked when the government would be expected to stop toll collection at the first Penang Bridge and North-South Expressway as promised in Pakatan Harapan’s 14th General Election manifesto.

Baru said the PH government has always been looking for the best solution to reduce highway toll rates, eventually working towards abolishing toll collection on all highways, but this will only be implemented once the country’s finances have stabilised. The government has said it is looking into the possibility of lower rates and off-peak discounts as measures to ease the burden on motorists’ wallets.

Last month, it was reported that the ministry had been given six months to settle the toll issue. Baru had said that the ministry was looking to hold discussions with highway concessionaires to explore the possibility of provisions allowing for a review of concession agreements.