KUALA LUMPUR – July 2, 2020: Two economic experts have called on highway operators that are raking in a lot of profits to do their part in helping the people, in line with Malaysia’s effort to spur economic recovery.
Their remarks was in response to the report that highway operator Lingkaran Trans Kota Holdings Bhd (Litrak) has recorded an increase of profit despite lower revenue due to the lower traffic on its LDP (Damansara-Puchong expressway) due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Associate Professor Dr Ahmed Razman Abdul Latif of Putra Business School said this could mean that the compensation given by the government to freeze toll hike is skewered toward benefitting the toll operator.
He was referring to the previous government’s decision to pay an estimated RM972.75 million in such a compensation for the year of 2019.
“The decision, which was made on Dec 12 2018, is understandably flawed, considering that nobody could have predicted this kind of situation to happen.
“When MCO (movement control order) was introduced back in March, traffic fell which means less maintenance cost but the compensation paid by the government to freeze toll hike was probably calculated to cover the cost of increased traffic over the years, with little to no room of consideration for a decrease in traffic,” said Razman.
He added that since the highway operators are now raking in more profits, they should embark in projects that can benefit the people such as building more facilities along their highways.
Meanwhile, Professor Zulkifli Senteri of Binary University believes that highway operators that are making such huge profits should take a more direct approach and help the people in the form of reduced toll rates.
“The lowering of toll rates, be it temporary or permanent will help the government in its effort to spur the economy.
“They should do it as their contribution to society, especially in this current situation as it will be seen as an effort to lower transportation cost, effectively lowering the people’s burden during this trying times,” he said.