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Malaysian highway toll charges may go up by 30%?

Quoting a report today from The Star daily website, the Malaysian government is mulling over the idea of raising toll charges by up to 30% following a Cabinet meeting today.

It was reported that Putrajaya is seriously considering a hike in highway toll rates by up to 30%, or between 20 sen and RM1, for at least 16 highways nationwide. The figure may rise to 19 or more in the near future.

The government last year postponed the scheduled toll hikes amid concerns over rising living costs. If approved, the toll hikes will come four months after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The new measure is expected to be implemented beginning from August this year if the Cabinet approves the new toll rates. However, it remains unclear if the toll hike would be implemented in one go or progressively in stages.

At today's Cabinet meeting, there was no indication if a final decision has been or when it will be made.

Among the major highways expected to be affected are the Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway (Duke), the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP), the New Pantai Expressway (NPE) and Kajang's Silk Highway. The hike will not involve the North-South Expressway (NSE).

For an example, if the toll on the LDP was increased by 30%, the charge would rise from the current RM1.60 to RM2.10.

According to concession agreements, toll rates were due for an increase in 2011. However, the government staved off the increase by compensating concessionaire companies and there was no increase that year.

Last year, the government compensated concessionaires nearly RM560 million to maintain toll rates.

In February this year, Projek Lebuhraya Usahasama Bhd (PLUS), the country’s largest toll concessionaire reported a toll revenue of RM2.46 billion for the first nine months of 2014, following a stable performance of its toll concessions.

PLUS has a projected revenue of RM3.32 billion for the whole of last year, with about 80% of its revenue contributed by the NSE.

Back in August 2014, Malaysia introduced a new toll at the Johor Bahru Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) checkpoint, a move reciprocated by Singapore’s Woodlands Checkpoint in October. The new toll affected all classes of vehicles except motorcycles.

 

- The Star, 12 June 2015

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