The MCA has jumped on the bandwagon for a toll-free PLUS.
Their proposal is in many ways similar to the DAP’s proposal - I noticed they even used the same KL-Penang toll rate example ☺. But there is a crucial difference – the DAP proposes that the government/Khazanah general offer extends to all minority shareholders of PLUS, including Employees Provident Fund (EPF). The MCA, on the other hand, considers EPF as part of the government. I completely disagree with that. EPF is the custodian of the rakyat’s hard-earned retirement money. It MUST NOT be treated as yet another source of funds for the government to fritter away.
Still, I am glad there is more support for bringing toll rates down. Cheap and efficient transport can do wonders for the local economy. The most recent proof – Japan’s dramatic toll rate cuts last month. Japanese expressway users now pay just ¥1,000 for unlimited travel on weekends and holidays.
It had a tremendous positive impact on the local economies. Weekend traffic on local highways soared 18% yoy! The boost is even more pronounced when compared to two weeks before – traffic was up 40%! All these means more income for local hotels, shops, restaurants and services – a key ingredient in keeping the domestic economy afloat as exports plunge.
Dare we hope for the same in Malaysia? Y1000 just ¥1,000 is equivalent to RM38. That’s incredibly cheap for the average Japanese who earns far more than the average Malaysian. So how about, say, RM20 for unlimited travel in Malaysia? I’ll bet that will encourage more Malaysians to take their families away for a weekend in Port Dickson, Melaka, Ipoh, Pangkor, Penang, Kuantan, Cherating …… boosting sales of everything from keropok lekor to assam laksa ☺