5% Toll Rate Rise Expected Next Year
PLUS Malaysia Bhd, the country’s biggest highway operator, is set to review their toll rates next year.
Sources cited by The Star revealed that the quantum of increment being looked at is in the region of 5%, instead of 10%.
However, the final decision would depend on the Government, based on the proposal from PLUS. The source also dismissed any possibility of a toll rate hike this year.
“For sure there will be no toll rate hike this year as stated in the concession agreement when PLUS Expressways Bhd (PEB) was privatised at the end of 2011. And the toll for Penang Bridge will remain the same,” the source said.
News of a possible toll hike was widely reported last month but Mohd Nizam Ismail, the head of corporate communications by PLUS, was reported to have said that it was a matter discussed in the social media and did not involve the highway operator.
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The Government has compensated the highway operator for the reduced income for keeping the rates unchanged for the past 10 years.
The concession agreement was revised when PEB was privatised by UEM Group Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund, where PLUS agreed to waive RM6.2 billion of compensation claims due from the Government then.
The revised concession agreement also allowed for scheduled toll hikes of 5% every three years (1.7% per annum) from 2016. The earlier concession agreement had allowed for 10% every three years, taking into account inflation.
The North-South Expressway, New Klang Valley Expressway, Federal Highway Route 2, Elite Highway, Linkedua (Malaysia-Singapore Second Link), Seremban-Port Dickson Highway, Butterworth-Kulim Expressway and the Penang Bridge, amounting to almost 1,000km of expressways, are operated and maintained by PLUS.
Currently, pending Government’s decision, 20 highways out of 31 are due for a toll rate hike as per their respective concession agreements, said Association of Highway Concessionaires Malaysia.
Toll rate hikes are specifically under the purview of the Public Works Department and the Malaysian Highway Authority.
In a separate news report, Datuk Seri Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, the Deputy Works Minister said that 17 expressway operators would receive compensation this year.
An amount of RM558.7 million is expected to be compensated by the Government to the toll concessionaires following a decision not to raise toll rates at 20 highways. The Works Ministry has approved the payment of RM458 million so far.
Other than toll rates, the light rail transit (LRT) and monorail fares, which have not been revised for 12 years, were speculated for a hike earlier this year, but the conjecture was dismissed by the Land Public Transport Commission (Spad).
The commission said it had no intention of increasing the fares of the LRT and Putra monorail line as yet, and that the current fare would be maintained until Spad makes a final decision on the matter.