Dec 15, 2006

Toll rate increase 'is not something we wanted' - Najib

DPM said Toll hike is not something "we wanted", so what is something "they wanted"?
Luckily there is no advice for change of lifestyle to adapt to the toll hike. Maybe we should start commuting by using bicycle. :-)

(The Star) JAKARTA: The increase in toll rates for the five expressways is not something that the Government is passing on “merrily” to the public.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Government was mindful of the burden such an increase was on the public, but had no choice.

“It is not something that we wanted, but the important thing to understand is that, for us to have world-class infrastructure, somebody has to pay for it.

“You can’t have quality highways without being willing to pay for it. So we decided we had no choice but to go ahead and it is on the basis of sharing the burden,” he told reporters here Friday.

Najib said sharing the burden meant the Government would have to fork out a considerable amount of money that could have been spent on development.

“However, we use it to keep toll rates at a level lower than otherwise,” he added.

The Government had announced toll increases for the Damansara- Puchong Expressway (LDP), Cheras-Kajang highway, Kuala Lumpur-Karak highway, Guthrie Corridor Highway and Kesas expressway from Jan 1.

The deputy prime minister, who is here for a working visit, said the Government had, for example, delayed the toll increase for LDP back in 1999.

“There was an earlier exercise which kept the rate at RM1 much longer, so it is not something that we pass on merrily to the people.”

When asked to react on unhappiness among the public over the higher cost of living with fuel price and now toll rates increases, Najib said the Government was mindful of the matter.

“That is the subsidy that the Government can afford which has been announced at RM2.5bil (for petrol).

“It is the kind of level of subsidy that we can give. On top of that, we are continuing to subsidise petrol prices, so the amount of subsidy that we have set aside is huge,” he added.

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