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Dr Mahathir: Buying over PLUS does not stop toll collection

PUTRAJAYA (Aug 23): Highway toll collection will continue even if concessionaire PLUS Malaysia Sdn Bhd is taken over by another entity, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pictured) said yesterday.

He said the government is still considering Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd’s offer to take over PLUS.

“We are looking into the proposal. They (Maju Holdings) propose that there has to be toll collection, without which they are unable to make the purchase as they will not get the returns.

“Their proposal includes lowering the toll rate. They want to do various other things, repair the roads … we are looking into the matter,” he told reporters after a meeting with senior civil servants here.

Dr Mahathir said that if the government wants to eliminate highway toll, it has to come up with a lot of money to take over road concessionaires. "Now we discover that ... the first thing is if we do not collect toll, we must buy the highway and it will cost billions and billions (of ringgit) ... and we don’t have the money.

“The other thing is that if we manage to buy, we have to spend money to maintain the toll. So, the public must understand the problem that we face," he said.

Dr Mahathir asked how the highways will be maintained if toll collection is abolished.

"The problem is that all highways need to be maintained, need to be enlarged sometime, adding new lanes. So, all that costs money.

"[There is] no final decision. We are still looking at it (the proposal)," he said.

Besides the North-South Expressway, PLUS also operates the New Klang Valley Expressway, Seremban-Port Dickson Highway, North-South Expressway Central Link, Malaysia-Singapore Second Link, Butterworth-Kulim Expressway and the Penang Bridge.

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