NAJIB Razak has accused Lim Guan Eng of duplicity over the finance minister’s handling of Penang Bridge toll rates.
The former prime minister said Lim in 2017 slammed Barisan Nasional for not abolishing toll on the bridge, when the then government extended the concession to 2038.
However, said Najib, Lim recently announced a reduction in the bridge’s toll rates while extending the concession a further 20 years, to 2058.
“(Now) he is not unhappy or dissatisfied (as he was in 2017), and has extended the toll concession for another 20 years until 2058.
“Strange, strange,” he said in a Facebook post.
Attached is a 2017 article in which Lim slammed the Najib government for extending the concession to 2038, and said toll collection at the bridge should be done away with.
On Saturday, the finance minister said starting February 1, the bridge’s toll rate for Penang car owners will come down to RM4.59, while others will pay RM5.74.
Previously, Penangites paid RM5.60 using specially registered Touch ‘n Go cards, while others paid RM7.
Lim said the move is part of a reduction in toll rates for all highways operated by PLUS Malaysia Bhd, which include the Penang Bridge.
The toll at Penang’s second bridge remains at RM7 for private cars, following a reduction of RM1.50 on January 1.
The government recently announced that all private vehicles using PLUS highways will pay lower toll rates from February 1. In return, PLUS’ concession period is extended to 2058.
Najib questioned if the people are really being given a discount.
“I want to know, which amount is higher? RM5.60 x 18 years, or RM4.60 x 38 years?”
In another post, Najib defended his record on Penang Bridge toll rates, saying they never rose since the bridge opened in 1985 despite the concession agreement allowing for a 10% increase every three years.
This was because Putrajaya paid compensation to the concessionaire until the government bought over the concession in 2011, he said.
“During BN’s time, we had long given a 20% discount for all Penangites who used Touch ‘n Go.”
He added that he disagrees with Pakatan Harapan’s decision to reduce the toll rate at the Johor-Singapore Second Link, saying it is a discount for Singaporeans entering Malaysia.
“Why must we give them a discount when they charge such a huge entry permit for our cars?”
Najib suggested that the discount be given only to Malaysians.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT