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Adenan Satem, Sarawak

Sarawakians won’t have to pay any toll fees soon

toll boothI MUST say I am looking forward to the day the Tun Abang Salahuddin Bridge that links Petra Jaya to the Pending area in Kuching goes toll free.

Us locals usually call it the Toll Bridge, but I guess that will change soon. As it would sound strange to call it the Toll-Free Bridge, I guess we should really think about using its proper name in honour of our former Governor.

While I don’t use the bridge every day I have many friends who do, as it is one of the most convenient ways for them to get to work or home.

RM1.50 each trip for their cars and RM0.50 for their motorcycles may not sound like much but that could add up to RM60 or more a month for the car owners.

They usually save a bit on petrol as it is a shorter route than taking the Satok Bridge (which incidentally is officially the Tun Abdul Rahman Ya’kub Bridge) and they definitely save on time.

Not having to pay the toll to get home earlier to be with their families will definitely be a great relief to them and the many other commuters who use the bridge daily.

Perhaps with the scrapping of the toll, many more will choose to use that route, relieving some of the congestion on the Satok Bridge.

When the toll is scrapped, Sarawakians will no longer have to pay any such fees to travel throughout the State! How wonderful!

In Sibu, I know many have rejoiced the scrapping of the Lanang Bridge toll. Those crossing the ASEAN Bridge in local cars also need not pay the toll fee any more. Traveling to Marudi is now cheaper thanks to the rationalisation of the ferry fare from RM15 to RM1 for cars.

Now to give credit where credit is due. All this has been made possible thanks to our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Adenan Satem. The CM has really shown that he understands the needs of the people and responded by ensuring those needs are taken care of.

Tun-Salahuddin-Bridge-1The story from The Borneo Post:

End of toll in sight

By Saiful Bahari

Tun Abang Salahuddin Bridge toll concessionaire likely to heed government’s request for free use of the bridge

KUCHING: Motorists using Tun Abang Salahuddin Bridge here may not have to pay toll soon as negotiation with the toll concessionaire to waive the toll has been fruitful and an agreement could be reached soon.

Once this state government initiative materialises, it means all bridges in the state will be toll free for Malaysian-registered vehicles. Foreigners still have to pay toll when using Asean Bridge in Miri to travel to and from neighbouring Brunei.

Minister of Housing Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the bid to scrap the toll at Tun Abang Salahuddin Bridge was to ease the financial burden of those who had to use the bridge regularly in light of the current economic situation.

“The state government is in the midst of a discussion with the toll concessionaire, and in my opinion, it has reached its intended conclusion stage.

“If everything goes smoothly, the bridge will be toll-free in a few months time,” Abang Johari, who is also Minister of Tourism, told reporters after officiating at the ‘Post GST: Managing the Public Reaction’ forum at Finas Auditorium here yesterday.

Earlier, in his speech, he agreed that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) had directly affected the lives of Malaysians, especially those from the low-income bracket.

“The state government, however, has come up with several measures to lessen the burden of the people, among which is lowering the electricity tariffs and abolishing tolls at Lanang Bridge and Asean Bridge.

“Soon, the Tun Salahuddin Bridge would follow suit (in abolishing toll charges).

“These are among measures taken by Sarawak BN (Barisan Nasional) to assist the people and get them to adapt to the GST system,” he said.

Abang Johari further said despite several issues and confusions of the newly-introduced tax system, everything should return to normal after six to eight months.

On another matter, he said the government would look into setting up of a tax refund counter at immigration counters in airports and border stations.

“Such a system will encourage visitors and tourists to spend in our state, which in the end will benefit the economy itself.”

The forum, organised by Information Department and Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), was moderated by chief political secretary to the Chief Minister, Abdullah Saidol.

It featured four panellists: Gunaselan Marian, who is the assistant chief director of Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives Ministry’s Pricing and Stocks Control Unit in Putrajaya; and Mohd Furiman Hattar, assistant chief of the GST Enforcement Department under the state Royal Malaysian Customs and Excise Department; Hanafi Sakri, section chief of Finance Ministry’s Taxation Department for GST Implementation; and MCMC Enforcement and Monitoring Department head Zulkarnain Mohamad Yassin.

State Information department director Abang Sardon Abang Hashim was also present.

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