Less than 24 hours after four tolls in the country were abolished, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak launched a broadside against the opposition calling them hypocrites for their attempts to “spin” the matter.
Among others, he said they were hypocrites for supporting the “Bapa Segala Tol” (Father of All Tolls),
“This is the opposition of Malaysia. They are hypocrites, they are the same ones who exalt and uplift the Father of All Tolls, the former leader who made lopsided agreements, benefiting some cronies at the expense of the people,” Najib said in a blog posting today.
While he mentioned no names in this post, Najib had previously called his archnemesis Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Bapa Segala Tol during the Umno general assembly in December.
The prime minister’s remarks came after toll collection at Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau in Selangor, Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah and the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) in Johor ended at the stroke of midnight.
This was in line with an announcement Najib made in his Budget 2018 speech.
After his speech, the premier said that the opposition had tried to twist the announcement for their own political benefit.
Among others, he rubbished a claim that the concession for the Sungai Rasau and Batu Tiga tolls were supposed to end in 2018.
He also made a veiled jab at PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s remarks that the abolition of the four tolls could burden the people.
“Worse yet, someone said the abolition of tolls would hurt the people. Maybe they don’t see the congestion at the tolled areas, or maybe they can’t count how many people get to save by not having to pay tolls,” he said.
Wan Azizah’s original remarks were in response to Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani who said the government would not be compensating toll concessionaire Plus Malaysia Bhd with cash.
Instead, Johari had said at the time that the government is considering extending the concession tenures of other tolls operated by Plus.
Wan Azizah in response, said this was a kin to “stealing money from other toll users” to pay for abolishment of the four tolls.
Meanwhile, Najib also shot at the opposition for not abolishing tolls in the states that they control, and for instead building tolled highways.
He said this showed that the opposition would not be able to fulfil their promises.
“All these are just empty words. Not just tolls, but not a single populist promise they made to the people can be fulfilled, because the fact is that they don’t have a solid plan to implement them,” he added.