The future of the nation’s largest highway operator PLUS Malaysia Bhd has been uncertain for quite some time as the government is still mulling over its highway takeover plan.
On October 4, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the government received a proposal from Khazanah Nasional Bhd concerning PLUS Malaysia Bhd which would benefit the people.
In the meantime, other ‘suitors’ came forth and expressed their interest in acquiring PLUS expressways. These issues were highlighted in red in the top issues of ‘PLUS’.
RRJ Capital, a private equity firm based in Hong Kong, proposed a RM3 billion bid for PLUS expressways, in which the company promises to cut toll rates by 20%, if successful.
Meanwhile, Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd, in its amended proposal, offered RM3.49 billion to acquire PLUS expressways. It was also reported that a reduction of 25% to 36% in toll prices was also included in the proposal.
It wasn’t long before PLUS received another proposal. This time, Widad Group Bhd offered to buy the expressways for RM3 billion cash. The offered toll reduction by Widad was between 25% to 40%.
Despite the multiple offers, PLUS has yet to accept any of the proposals.
Then, during the tabling of Budget 2020 on October 11, Guan Eng announced that an average of 18% discount will be implemented on all PLUS highways across the nation.
The announcement automatically puts PLUS in the media spotlight. ‘Belanjawan 2020’ was one of the top issues of PLUS for the past month, as highlighted in green.
The toll reduction will affect a total of 92 tolls across the country; 40 plazas in the central region, 25 plazas up north, and 27 plazas in the southern region. Nevertheless, the discount rate will only start to take effect in 2020.