Bad news, Malaysians (as if we need more of that), toll rates along several major highways will go up between 20 sen and RM3 from October 15, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
The highways include:
- Kajang Traffic Dispersal Ring Road (SILK)
- Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway (DUKE)
- Maju Expressway (MEX)
- Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway (KLK)
- KL-Kuala Selangor Expressway (Latar)
- SMART tunnel
- New Pantai Expressway (NPE)
- Besraya Highway
- Lebuhraya Kajang Seremban (Lekas)
- Guthrie Corridor Expressway (Guthrie)
- Kemuning Shah Alam Expressway (LKSA)
- Ampang Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway (Akleh)
- Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP)
- Sprint Expressway
- Cheras-Kajang Expressway (Grand Saga)
- Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR)
- Senai-Desaru Expressway
Below are the new toll rates for these major highways:
Why are they doing this?
Apparently the concessionaires need money and the toll rate increase will help them to better absorb financing and rising maintenance costs as well as service charges, the Association of Highway Concessionaires Malaysia (PSKLM) was quoted saying in a Bernama report in July.
The association claimed that not all highways are profit-making and that the hike in toll rates was necessary to help with debt servicing, maintenance and overheads.
Citing a Malaysian Highway Authority’s study, PSKLM said about 75% of the tolls collected went towards debt servicing, while about 20% was spent on maintenance and overheads.
It added that despite some highways falling short on revenue estimates, the concessionaires were not allowed to raise their tolls, and this has caused them difficulty in servicing their loans. Some also had to go back to the lenders to negotiate for a new arrangement.
While traffic congestion continues to be a perennial problem, PSKLM argued that the hike was necessary as the concessionaires had borrowed and spent hundreds of millions of Ringgit on highway development and facilities which needed to be maintained and upgraded for users’ convenience.
It said new facilities and infrastructure had to be built, especially to step up safety measures and ease congestion.
Last November, the government decided to postpone raising the toll rates for 20 highways that were due for increments this year. Following that, the concession companies were compensated RM558.69 million.
What happens now?
An increase in toll rates will not just affect road users, it is bound to set off a chain reaction that will result in a further hike in the cost of goods and services, especially with food prices.
This would present yet another financial setback for consumers, who have just been hit with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in April.
As with the introduction of the 6% GST, the increase in toll rates will surely take another toll on your wallet. Worse, Malaysians will find it especially hard to cope this time around, in the face of the weakening Ringgit.