It seems that everyone is tightening their belts these days, even the government. Works minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof announced that Malaysia will no longer provide any assistance for new highway projects – including three that are coming up in the Klang Valley alone.
The cost of these highways and associated risks will instead be fully borne by the concessionaires, Bernama quoted him as saying. “There will no longer be any financial assistance from the government for all new highways. In fact, no assistance for land too. Previously, land acquisition cost for highway construction was partly borne by the government.
“Now, there are no more soft loans – all will have to be shouldered by the concession companies interested in building the highways,” Fadillah said at a Raya open house and annual general meeting yesterday. This follows a previous remark welcoming private companies to take over concessionaires, so that they could be restructured to reduce the financial burden on the people and the government.
Fadillah’s earlier comments were made on the same day prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced a restructuring of Kesas Expressway, Smart Tunnel, Sprint Expressway and Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP) to prevent toll hikes, with Amanat Lebuhraya Rakyat (ALR) offering to take over the concessionaires. This offer was accepted by the four companies on April 18.
The three Klang Valley highway projects affected by the government’s new policy are the Petaling Jaya Traffic Dispersal Elevated Highway (PJD LINK), Putrajaya–Bangi Expressway (PBE) and Kuala Lumpur Northern Dispersal Expressway (KL-NODE), which have all reportedly received principle approval.
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