SEBERANG JAYA – The Federal government is expected to eventually take over all the country’s toll concessionaires if the acquisition process of the four concessions announced on Friday goes smoothly.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the takeover of the four concessionaires would serve as a pilot project towards reducing the toll charges, thus reducing the burden on the people.

“This is a pilot project. We will not charge toll during off-peak hours but during peak hours, the people have to pay a traffic charge, which is the current toll rate.

”This is a clear improvement compared to before.

“Additionally, when we take over the concessionaires, it will be paid for by the toll charges collected,” he said after the Penang Customs Department Hari Raya open house here on Sunday.

The Finance Ministry had announced that it would be taking over the toll concessionaires of four main highways at a cost of RM6.2 billion as the first step towards reducing the burden on road users, as well as to fulfil promises made in Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) general election manifesto.

The four tolled highway concessions in which Gamuda Bhd has a significant stake are the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (Sprint), Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas) and Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART).

The breakdown of the offer prices are RM2.47 billion for the LDP, RM1.98 billion for Sprint, RM1.38 billion for Kesas and RM369 million for SMART.

The toll charge structure after the takeover will be studied in detail and fine tuned before it is implemented on Jan 1, next year.

Toll users are expected to see total savings of RM180 million a year.

Meanwhile, Lim said his ministry would add 80 new container-scanning systems for the Customs Department at all entry points into the country.

He these scanning devices would help the department to identify and prevent items that were not allowed into the country, such as plastic waste, from entering Malaysia.

“I received complaints from the department that they are facing trouble in conducting a detailed inspection.

“Sometimes the front of the container is filled with the permissible items and the back is filled with illegal items,” he said.