PUTRAJAYA has not made any decision to take over four tolled Klang Valley highways from Gamuda Bhd for RM6.2 billion, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“We have not yet made a decision,” the prime minister told reporters in Putrajaya today.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has said the cabinet gave an approval in principle on February 27, with Dr Mahathir approving the conditional offer on June 20.
Although the proposal has been accepted by the highway concessionaire, it is still subject to cabinet’s nod.
Lim said the deal will save taxpayers RM5.3 billion, a sum that would otherwise be used to compensate toll operators.
The congestion charges for the four highways will also be lower than the current rates set by the concessionaire, he added.
The concession period for the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP), Smart Tunnel, Shah Alam Highway (Kesas) and Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (Sprint) ranges between nine and 23 years.
“All consumers will have to pay toll rates according to the concession contract. However, when it is taken over by the government, they can pay a congestion charge that is far lower than what they’re paying now,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat during question time today.
“We want to make sure the government can save RM5.3 billion, while consumers can save some RM2 billion on toll charges paid during the concession period.”
He said the takeover will be funded by a bond issuance, based on the advice of an investment bank that guarantees the move will allow Putrajaya to proceed with the takeover without having to fork out a sen.
The congestion charges will be used to pay off the debt, he said.