Prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed has confirmed that the government will not be selling PLUS, and says the decision to not do so is because none of the bids that have been made are attractive enough, The Star reports.
“We have studied all the bids made by the private sector, and also the bid by Khazanah Nasional. We decided that the best way is not to sell PLUS to anybody, but to keep it with Khazanah Nasional and Employees Provident Fund (EPF),” he said.
He added that PLUS will be given a 20-year extension of its toll concession, but the planned 18% reduction in the toll rate – as determined during Budget 2020 – would be implemented, and the concessionaire would not be making that much despite the two decade extension.
“They have to reduce the toll rate by 18%, but remember, 18% is set at today’s rate. That means, in 20 years’ time, the 18% when compared with the ringgit rate then will not be very high. Traffic will increase, but the value and purchasing power of the ringgit will go down, so what they earn afterwards (in 20 years) is not as big as people think they are going to get. This is because we are looking at it at the present rate, and it will be a flat rate minus 18%,” he said.
The country’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah, via UEM Group, owns 51% of PLUS, with EPF holding the remaining 49%. Highways operated by PLUS, which is the country’s largest highway concessionaire, are the North-South Expressway (NSE), Second Link Expressway, Penang Bridge, North-South Expressway Central Link, Butterworth-Kulim Expressway and Seremban-Port Dickson Highway.
The government received four offers last year for the takeover of PLUS, these being from Widad Group, Maju Holdings, RRJ Capital and Tan Sri Halim Saad’s vehicle Karongsa Private Capital.
There was no mention of the proposed takeover of four Klang Valley highways operated by Gamuda. Earlier, it was reported that the government had not made a decision yet on the matter. The highways operated by Gamuda are the Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (Sprint), Lebuhraya Shah Alam (Kesas) and the Smart Tunnel.
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