Putrajaya should renegotiate for reduced toll rates as toll concessionaires were already enjoying obscene profits, said PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli (pic).
"If Barisan Nasional was smart… they can decrease toll rates given the increase in volume of vehicles. After all they are all related agencies," he said.
Plus Bhd, the operator of the North South Highway, earned a 61% profit in 2011.
Litrak Bhd, which manages the LDP and Sprint highways, earned a profit RM180 million last year, against RM369 million in toll collection.
On Plus, Rafizi added: "Not many companies around the world can achieve this profit before tax level enjoyed by Plus. Their maintenance cost is only 6% of toll revenue. This proves that the current toll rate is already too high."
As for Plus’s announcement that toll rates will not be increased until 2015, Rafizi said: "What they did not reveal is that the concession period had been extended."
He added that the proposed hike also went against Barisan Nasional's (BN) manifesto before the May 5 polls, where it listed a reduction of toll rates in stages as one of its goals.
"I can't help but think that the planned toll hike, which affects mostly those in the Klang Valley and Kuala Lumpur, is their way to punish the voters," he said, referring to the BN.
The PKR MP also criticised Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar for his remark those who were unhappy with the proposed toll hikes could use other routes.
"Although he was paid millions in yearly salary before and would not be able to understand the hardship ordinary people faced given the rising cost of living, he should be more sensitive to the needs of the rakyat in his role as minister.
"Ministers like him just prove how removed Datuk Seri Najib Razak's cabinet is from reality of the people."
The proposed toll hike for 13 highways follows a slew of price increases which include a 15% rise in electricity tariffs and the assessment rate hike for properties in Kuala Lumpur. – December 17, 2013.