KUALA LUMPUR: The claim that Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributors will suffer a loss due to the government’s move to restructure PLUS Malaysia Bhd’s toll concession is baseless, said Tony Pua, political secretary to the finance minister.

He said this and other allegations made by Datuk Seri Najib Razak regarding the toll concession restructuring – which would see highway users enjoy an 18% toll rate reduction from February – showed that the former prime minister was sulking (“merajuk”).

“Clearly he is sulking because Pakatan Harapan (PH) has succeeded in finding a solution to the high (and rising) toll rates during the Barisan Nasional (BN) era whereas he had failed to do so.

“Based on the PH formula, highway users stand to enjoy a big discount, the government will make savings due to the PLUS debt write-off and not having to pay compensation for the discounted toll rates throughout the concession period,” Pua said in a statement today.

He said since the PH government announced the toll rate reduction, Najib had criticised the measure non-stop although, through his Facebook posts, he cited the government’s statement that highway users would save RM26 bil while the government would save RM42 bil for the remainder of the concession.

Unfortunately, Pua said, Najib still issued statements that EPF contributors and future highway users would bear a loss of RM68 bil during the remaining concession period, which was by the addition of RM26 bil and RM42 bil.

He said despite Najib being a former finance minister, his calculation was illogical and made no sense.

This was because the government’s RM42 bil savings for the rest of the agreement period comprised the RM26 bil potential compensation for freezing toll rates till the end of the existing concession (as opposed to toll rates having to be raised by 5% every three years), the additional compensation of RM14 bil that the government must pay due to the 18% toll discount, and the oustanding debt of RM2 bil that the government owed to PLUS.

Pua said the value of the PLUS equity interest held by Khazanah Nasional Bhd and EPF, as announced, would be retained and safeguarded through the issuance of bonds to shareholders.

Hence, the EPF’s payment of dividends to Malaysian workers will not be affected.

“As was confirmed by the Finance Ministry last week, Malaysians will enjoy an 18% toll discount starting Feb 1.

“This achievement is in line with PH’s manifesto pledge, which is being implemented without causing any loss to the government and Malaysian taxpayers. Instead, the savings made by the government will be ploughed back into welfare and development activities for the people nationwide,” he added. – Jan 28, 2020, Bernama

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