The current trialling of radio frequency identification (RFID) for toll payment along the North-South Expressway (PLUS) is crucial to ensure that the system works efficiently before its usage is expanded, according to works minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.

He said that during the trial period, any issues, including administrative and legal matters, would be identified and resolved to ensure that the system works smoothly and not become a burden to motorists, as Bernama reports.

“This is what we are looking at and working on at the level of the Malaysian highway authority and works ministry,” he said during Q&A time in the Dewan Negara yesterday. He was replying to a supplementary question from Senator Datuk Razali Idris, who wanted to know whether the ministry was considering placing the SmartTag and RFID systems under a common lane instead of separating them, as they are now.

Fadillah said the suppliers for the two toll payment systems were different, as was the technology used for both (RFID and infra-red). “They are separated because the tag readers might be ‘confused’ if placed in the same lane,” he explained. He added that the introduction of RFID was in line with the government’s plan to switch to the multi-lane free flow (MLFF) toll collection system by 2025.

Separately, Fadillah said the ministry has also conducted various studies, engagement sessions and dialogues with stakeholders to obtain feedback and suggest the best solution. He said that based on the studies, RFID was ideal for the purpose of implementing a non-stop MLFF toll collection system, as it has been widely adopted in many countries. However, he added that the ministry will continue to study the effectiveness of RFID technology compared to existing technologies before making the next decision.

He added that the ministry will also need to ensure the ability to track vehicle number plates for the purpose of enforcing toll offenses with the MLFF. He said that based on records, the number of vehicles detected committing toll trespass offenses from 2016 to 2019 was 1.2 million vehicles, with toll revenue losses incurred by concessionaires estimated at RM23.08 million.