Toll charges under PLUS Expressway Berhad will go up by 5 per cent next year under the revised concessionaire highway agreement.
Deputy Works Minister Datuk Rosnah Rashid Shirlin said PLUS would be allowed to raise toll rates by 5 per cent every three years starting next year until the extended concession period ends in 2038.
"However, the Government will have the right to study PLUS' application to increase toll rates after considering the Consumer Price Index and certified traffic volume audit.
"This means there will not be an automatic toll hike," she said when replying to a question raised by Datuk Ahmad Fauzi Zahari (BN-Setiawangsa) in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday.
She said the new terms under the review of the concession period would not include PLUS' management of the Penang Bridge.
Rosnah also said PLUS was supposed to have reviewed its rates this year, as agreed under a concession review agreement in 2011.
She said the previous rate permitted was 10 per cent every three years, based on a calculation of 13.96 sen (S$0.05) per kilometre.
Earlier, when answering a question by Datuk Hj Mohd Idris Jusi (PKR-Batu Pahat), Rosnah pointed out that PLUS made a post-tax profit of merely RM8.4mil out of the total RM2.16bil in toll revenue collection last year.
She said this was based on the 506 million vehicles using eight highways under PLUS' management in 2014.
Rosnah also noted that the bulk of the company's collection revenue was used for repaying loans (50 per cent) with the balance used as operating and maintenance costs (20 per cent to 25 per cent), upgrading works (15 per cent) and returns to shareholders (10 per cent).
Rosnah said PLUS was owned by Khazanah Nasional Berhad (51 per cent) and the Employees Provident Fund (49 per cent).
Last Monday, Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof informed the Dewan Rakyat that RM214mil had been set aside under the Budget 2016 to compensate the highway concessionaire.
He added that the compensation was part of measures taken by the Government to ensure that highway operators did not raise toll rates to the maximum.