Increase in Malaysian toll rate decision pending study by lab

BUKIT BERUNTUNG: Any increase in toll rates will only be decided after an in-depth study by a laboratory to look into the matter, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Speaking after opening the RM100 million (S$38.8 million) Sungai Buaya interchange on the North-South Expressway, near here, yesterday, he revealed that the laboratory would also look at measures that could be taken to ease the burden of highway users.

According to Najib, the Government had paid millions of ringgit in compensation to expressway concessionaires following the postponement of scheduled increase in toll from 2008 until last year, and if there were another postponement this year, it would have to pay them RM404mil.

"(For now), we have not decided whether there should be any hike for this year.

"So let's wait (for a decision to be made). I hope the people will not have any negative perception of the Government over this, like we are not sensitive to their interests," he said.

Najib added that the Government had to constantly juggle between the interests of road users and the concessionaires, who needed funds to service their loans and maintain the infrastructure.

Compensation that was paid in 2012 amounted to RM329mil, while the figure for last year came up to RM343mil. There are 29 expressway in operation throughout the country.

He pointed out that other than the deferment in increase for 15 expressways since 2008, seven expressways had been made toll-free, while another three saw a reduction in rates.