In a statement, Fadillah explained that PLUS Highways Berhad spent about RM1 billion yearly on maintenance, patrolling and upgrading of the 986.5km PLUS highways system.
The group, he added, had also spent billions on widening the roads to three or four lanes in order to alleviate congestion and to provide a safer and more comfortable journey for motorists.
Fadillah pointed out the government owned 51 per cent of PLUS, while the remaining 49 per cent was owned by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
“It is incredulous that Lim considers the 14.55 million Employees Provident Fund (EPF) members as “cronies”,” he said, adding that EPF’s ownership of PLUS Highways allowed its members to receive a stable return every year from a mature cash-generating asset.
Lim, who is the Penang Chief Minister, had yesterday urged Putrajaya to make the PLUS highway toll free, claiming that the concessionaire had already made more profit than the actual construction cost of RM5.9 billion.
The Bagan lawmaker said this after it was revealed in Parliament that PLUS Highways Berhad had already made RM36.39 billion in profit.
Fadillah went on to state that doing away with tolls would make it difficult to maintain the highways.
Lim’s alternative, suggested last year, of using the road tax collection for such works, Fadillah said, was not viable as the total road tax collection was about RM2.4 billion a year.
The sum, the Sarawakian lawmaker argued, was neither sufficient to maintain the PLUS highways system nor the 50,000 km of toll-free federal roads and provide annual allocations to the individual states to maintain their state roads.
“It is hoped that Lim spends more time to understand the true situation instead of issuing populist statements that are not grounded on reality and irresponsibly labelling any and all parties as cronies,” he added.