Pua: Takeover of toll concessions will cost less than RM400b

KUALA LUMPUR (August 17): The amount required to take over all the toll concessions in the country will cost less than the RM400 billion projected by the previous Barisan Nasional government, said ministry of finance special officer Tony Pua.

Pua said this is because in the case of acquisition, the government intends to only make compensation based on construction cost, as stated in the concession agreement.

“The RM400 billion figure being tossed around by the previous government takes into account the compensation to concession companies, which includes their future profit,” he told reporters at Parliament lobby yesterday.

“The amount that we use, if we want to buy out all the concessions, which we have not planned to do so yet, we will only compensate based on the rate stated in the contract, which is the construction cost and not future profit,” he said.

“Therefore the amount required to take over toll concessions is not going to be near RM400 billion. So, we will have to recalculate the amount,” he added.

On Monday, Works Minister Baru Bian told Dewan Rakyat that it was not an easy task for the government to take over toll concessions as the amount of money needed could go up to RM400 billion, plus the country’s fiscal position was not in a good shape.

Meanwhile, Pua denied a news report that the government is considering imposing tax on soda drinks like Coca-Cola.

“The government is considering all options in order to increase the tax revenue, but nothing has been decided yet,” he said, quashing a Malaysiakini report yesterday, which quoted him as saying that the government was considering implementing new taxes, including soda tax.

Soon after the report was posted by Malaysiakini, Rembau member of Parliament Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted that he supported the implementation of soda tax.

“I support a soda tax. But I don’t think we should say who can or cannot consume soft drinks. Preferably everyone should minimise consumption of soft drinks,” he said in his tweet.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on Aug 17, 2018.

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