Updated at 8.20pm
PUTRAJAYA, 27 Feb 2009: The Cabinet today decided to postpone indefinitely the toll increase for five expressways that was supposed to take effect on 1 March, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
In a Bernama report, Najib said the new toll rates announced by Works Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohamed yesterday would not be implemented in the near term or at the end of this year.
Following the deferment, the government would have to pay RM500 million of taxpayers’ money to the five highway operators, he told a press conference at the Finance Ministry here.
Mohd Zin had earlier told reporters at his ministry that the government would postpone the new toll rates for the North-South Expressway, Western Kuala Lumpur Traffic Dispersal System Expressway, Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway, Sungai Besi Highway and New Pantai Expressway until the end of the year.
The cabinet decision came a day after the Mohd Zin announced there would be a toll hike for five highways by 0.68 to 50 sen effective 1 March.
He had said the increase was in accordance with the concession signed between the government and the respective highway concessionaires.
However, later the same day, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the toll hike was inappropriate given the current situation. He said the cabinet, in its weekly meeting today, would review its earlier decision in approving the toll hike.
Meanwhile, Najib dismissed the idea that the toll hike deferment had something to do with the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections on 7 April.
“The decision was made for the good and benefit of the people,” he said.
See also: Cabinet to reconsider toll hike: PM