KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 – Former prime minister Najib Razak has mocked the Pakatan Harapan government’s decision to suspend plans to abolish highway tolls due to the high cost of compensating concessionaires.
Najib zeroed in on DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua and suggested that Pakatan Harapan give the task of fulfilling the pledge to abolish the highway tolls to the Damansara MP who had disputed Barisan Nasional’s announcement that it would cost about RM231 billion to abolish all toll concessions.
“DAP leaders, during that time, including Tony Pua, had accused me of being a liar.
“Pua said based on his calculations, it would only cost RM25 billion, not RM231 billion as what we had disclosed,” he said in a Facebook posting.
Najib said the government was now announcing an amount that was much higher than what the BN government had announced before.
Najib was referring to yesterday’s announcement made by Works Minister Baru Bian in the Dewan Rakyat that it would not be easy to abolish all tolls as promised in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto because it would cost about RM400 billion to do so.
Najib urged PH to fulfil its promises, adding that as a road user, he would be happy if all tolls were abolished as promised. PH must also prove it had not lied to get the people’s vote, he added.
He said the toll concessionaires were neither his cronies nor his friends but were from the previous prime minister’s era.
He said when he was a prime minister, he continuously worked to eliminate many toll plazas across the nation. During that period, no highway toll company owned by the government raised the toll rates.
But private-owned toll concessionaires increased the toll rates due to concession agreements negotiated and sealed during Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s time as the fourth prime minister.
He said when he was appointed as the finance minister in October 2008, he declassified toll concession agreements which were previously under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) to ensure toll agreements were no longer a secret.
“Due to that, all toll concession agreements can be reviewed by the public,” he added.