Extract from Point 32 of the speech by Finance Minister YAB Dato' Sri Najib yesterday:
“The Government will also provide RM480 million to ensure that toll rates are not increased.”
Bear in mind this is just the additional amount of compensation to avert further increases in toll rates. The government is already compensating the concessionaires for past toll rate hikes which were not implemented. I estimate compensation to PLUS alone is RM700m per year. That will go up to RM1.5bn in 2011, if PLUS is not allowed to increase rates.
There is no need for this. The DAP has presented a concrete, viable proposal for a toll-free PLUS by 2016, at no additional cost to the government.
Hmm. Here's a thought. Khazanah has a RM10bn allocation, and a chequered execution record. I'd be very happy if it spent that RM10bn on buying out the rest of PLUS and making it toll-free even earlier!