Why is gov't acquiring highways with soon-to-expire concessions, asks senator

Modified 27 Jun 2019, 10:05 am

Senator Khairul Azwan Harun has questioned why Putrajaya is acquiring certain highways whose concessions are about to expire.

Citing the Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas) as an example, the Umno man pointed out that the concession is slated to end in slightly more than four years.

Furthermore, he said the Damansara Puchong Expressway would no longer see toll hikes even though its concession would only end in 2030.

"In Aug 2017, it was confirmed that highways like LDP would no longer see an increase in toll rates.

"So it is a bit confusing that the government is fear-mongering on the fact that they have saved the rakyat from suffering higher toll rates by acquiring these concessionaires," he added in a statement.

Khairul accused the Finance Ministry of doing a "big favour" for toll concessionaires.

"How is it strategic to acquire them now for RM2.47billion (LDP) and RM1.38billion (Kesas)?

"I hope the finance minister can justify and outline the specific costs that led to a total of RM6.2 billion.

"For the sake of transparency, I hope the Finance Ministry can better outline what exactly the RM6.2 billion is for, if not for the gains of the current concessionaires," he added.

Apart from Kesas and LDP, the government is also seeking to acquire the Stormwater Management And Road Tunnel (Smart Tunnel) and Western KL Traffic Dispersal System (Sprint Highway).

Collectively, the proposal to acquire the four highways would cost the government RM6.2 billion.

Of the four highways, the remaining term of Kesas' concession is the shortest as it is scheduled to expire on Aug 18, 2023.

As for LDP, the concession would expire on Aug 14, 2030, while the Smart tunnel would expire on Dec 31, 2042.

The Sprint Highway has multiple components and would expire between Dec 15, 2031, and Dec 14, 2034.

Barring extensions, once the concessions expire, no toll would be collected.


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