The Malay Mail has reported that eight highways in the country will be entitled to increase its toll rates next year, following rate hikes – between 20 sen and RM3 – at major highways in the Klang Valley on October 15. The abrupt increase in toll prices last month was met with outcries from motorists, who were already burdened with rising cost of living as a result of the goods and services tax (GST) as well as a much-weakened ringgit.
Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof also said the government has already allocated RM593.32 million to compensate the highway concessionaires, in the event they are not allowed to hike their rates. “I’m not deciding on whether there will be an increase or not. Those entitled to receive hikes for 2016 are eight highways,” Fadillah told Parliament.
Despite the price hikes, the government paid RM510 million in compensation to concessionaires for the Jan-Oct 15 period, because toll rates should have been raised in January. Without the toll fare increase, next year’s bill would amount to RM1.6 billion.
The 8 highways and the amount of their respective entitled compensations include:
- North-South Expressway (NSE) – RM214 million
- Malaysia-Singapore Second Link (MSSL) – RM8.24 million
- ELITE Highway – RM79.44 million
- Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (BKE) – RM3.11 million
- Seremban-Port Dickson Highway – RM1.95 million
- KESAS Highway – RM92.8 million
- Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP) – RM185.89 million
- North Klang Straits Bypass Expressway – RM7.85 million
Understandably, motorists will not be happy about another increase in toll prices, especially so soon after the last hike. What’s more, the rationalisation plan for KTM, LRT and Monorail train fares will see the majority of commuters paying more for public transport once it takes effect on Dec 2.
Even more frustrating is that fact that it will take the MRT and (extended) LRT lines at least a couple more years to be completed, during which time road-users will have to endure road blocks and traffic congestion along the construction sites.
Fingers crossed the toll rate hikes won’t hit too soon next year.