Works Minister Baru Bian has assured that the Pan Borneo Highway will be toll-free.
Baru was quoted by Free Malaysia Today as saying that the Pakatan Harapan government will honour its promise not to charge motorists using the highway.
“Let me tell you very clearly, from the beginning there was no intention by the Harapan government that the Pan Borneo Highway should be tolled. This is one of our pledges.
“I give my assurance to Sabah and Sarawak there will be no toll there,” he said.
The minister also stressed that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent statement of toll abolishment not being possible only applied to Peninsular Malaysia.
“We understand Mahathir's statement actually involves the tolls in the peninsula.
“I have issued statements on this and he (Mahathir) has confirmed them. It was also brought up in Parliament,” he added.
On Friday, Mahathir admitted that he was initially against the toll abolishment pledge and characterised the manifesto as a “big burden.”
Speaking to FMT yesterday, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) questioned if Mahathir’s statement would compromise the Sabah government’s promise to keep the Pan Borneo Highway – set to be the country’s longest highway upon completion – free of tolls.
“I sincerely hope this latest U-turn will not include this crucial road network for the sake of the people here,” PBS secretary-general Johnny Mositun had said.
As for the project, Baru said construction had been delayed due to issues encountered when paying contractors, acquiring land and effecting evictions.
“We are talking to the project delivery partner and state government to resolve these matters, because we want this project to be completed,” he was quoted as saying.
Slated for completion in 2023 at a cost of RM29 billion, the highway is expected to span 2,325km, connecting Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei.