In the midst of the all-out attack on the government by the opposition because of the proposal to raise the toll price for 13 intercity highways effecting next year many of the opposition supporters are unaware that these toll hike was started by their own leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim himself.
This is because from the 13 toll concession that is involved next year, most of them was built with the permission of Anwar as the Ministry Of Finance in between 1992 to 1998.
It is true that the job to regulate the building of such highways was done by the Ministry of Works, head by the legendary Datuk Sri (Now Tan Sri) Samy Vellu, but Anwar as the Minister of Finance is also involved and this includes the concession agreement whereas the government has to pay a large amount of money if these toll companies were unable to raise the price of tolls.
As an alternative to these payment, the Ministry of Finance at that particular time which was led by Anwar Ibrahim made a specific clause that allow the government to extend the concession period to avoid the price hike of tolls.
A few times, the government used their power as stated in the concessional agreement to extend the concession period and the users (people of Malaysia) do not have to pay any added cost. As a matter of fact, according to the original agreement, the North South Highway which was run by PLUS Berhad of whom was supposed to end their concession in 2025, was extended a few times. The last time a toll concession was extended was up to 2038 as a reasonable reason for the government not to raise the toll.
This particular situation may be effective by a shorter time period, but for a more lengthy period this will burdens toll users as they need to pay a higher price, much more than it is now.
This is the impact that we can see now when the government can no longer extend the concession period to halt the rising toll charges and was forced to allow the company to raise the price of toll as stated in the original concession agreement.
All of this is the results of Anwar’s critical thinking during his tenure as the minister of Fianance. Other than 10 more highway concession that was built during his tenure as the minister of finance, The concession agreement is stated above where the road user do not have to pay a certain extra charge as to get the privilege of using a hassle free road.
For your information, the Najib Razak administration has never extend any concessional period for any highway in Malaysia since Datuk Seri Najib Razak became the Prime Minister in 2009.
What was done by the PM is to let go of government shares in PLUS and gave it to UEM Berhad and KWSP and nothing was hiked for 5 years (2010 to 2015) and when it is going to be raise in 2016, the hike is for about 5% for every year is much more lower then according to the old concessional agreement (10% perannum).