The government is considering extending the concession periods of highway operators, Malay Mail reports – citing an article by business paper The Edge that was published on Saturday. It is said that the main goal for the move is to prevent future increases in rates for all tolls operating across Peninsular Malaysia.
Citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, The Edge’s article reported that the deal has yet to get an approval from the Cabinet. Should it get the greenlight, the move could be announced in the second half of this year with all highway operators seeing an extension to their concessions of up to 30 years. This is corroborated by a second source, who detailed the same information while noting that the deal is currently under review by the government. Some of the companies involved have been informed regarding the possible deal, they added.
Meanwhile, a third source who is reportedly close to a concessionaire told the business paper that the extension was in the government’s interest to prevent toll rates from increasing. At the same time, doing so is believed to be a way to avoid paying compensation to highway operators as well.
The Edge’s report also cited a fourth unnamed source, who said that the deal could lead to a reduction in toll rates. “It is likely that the highway owners would need to reduce their toll rates in exchange for a longer concession period,” the source was quoted as saying,” they said.
Highway operators reducing toll rates after their concessions are extended isn’t something new. In fact, the most recent of such changes happened back in February 2020, where PLUS Malaysia reduced its toll rates on its highways by 18% after its concession was extended by the government for another 20 years. It is also worth noting that the deal also included a clause whereby there will be no hikes in fares for all PLUSH highways until 2058.
(Source: Malay Mail)
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