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KUALA LUMPUR: The government has decided against selling Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan (PLUS) Malaysia Bhd, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

According to Dr Mahathir, after deliberating over the studies on the matter, the country’s largest highway operator will remain as a state asset while the toll charges will be reduced by 18 per cent.

“We have studied all the bids made by the private sector and also by Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

“In the end, we decided that the best way is not to sell PLUS to anybody but retain it with Khazanah and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

“They will have to reduce the toll rates by 18 per cent, but please remember that this 18 per cent is fixed at today’s rate.

“In 30 years’ time it will be very, very low,” he told reporters after officiating Kompleks Balai Islam Tenaga Nasional Bhd here today.

Khazanah owns a 51 per cent interest in PLUS, while the remaining 49 per cent is held by the EPF following the takeover in 2011 with a transaction value of RM32 billion.

Previously, several private companies had placed bids to acquire the highway with promises to lower toll charges.

“The reduction will be straight away, commencing this year.

“It will not be increasing the rate for 30 years, which means Malaysians will be paying very low rates.”

Previously it was reported that four companies had placed bids on PLUS. They are businessmen Tan Sri Halim Saad and Datuk Wong Gian Kui, Widad Business Group Sdn Bhd, Hong Kong-based Malaysian private equity firm RRJ Capital, and Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd.

PLUS operates eight expressways, including the 772km North-South Expressway, the Penang Bridge, and the second Johor-Singapore crossing, under five concessions.

The government has decided against selling Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan (PLUS) Malaysia Bhd, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said. -NSTP/AIZUDDIN SAAD
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