25 Jan - 3 min read
Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof has said the public will soon have the freedom to pay their toll fares using any preferred digital payment providers while travelling on the highway. This means they will no longer be confined to only using Touch ‘n Go (TNG), as they currently are.
“Soon, it will be up to the public to use any digital mode of payment – whether you want to use TNG eWallet, debit or credit card, or Visa or Mastercard, or any kind of (electronic) payment system – as long as there’s a link available on a (particular) highway,” said the minister in an exclusive interview with news portal Free Malaysia Today.
Datuk Seri Fadillah noted, however, that the provision of this facility will depend on when the radio frequency identification (RFID) penetration reaches a satisfactory rate, as well as when highway concessionaires are ready to link up with additional online payment providers. He also commented that once the facility is launched, motorists will only need one RFID tag for the purpose of toll fare payment.
This update came after the unsuccessful implementation of the RFID technology for Class 1 vehicles along the North-South Expressway over the past two weeks, which caused massive congestions at several toll plazas and stoked public displeasure. Following that, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob expressed that users must be given the freedom to decide how they would like to pay their toll fares.
Datuk Seri Fadillah further said that the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) has been striving to make it convenient for the public to adopt online payments while travelling. “We have been listening to the people’s demand to open more (online payments), and we are aware that people have been complaining that they have to pay in advance for TNG whether they are using (the highway) or not,” he stated.
Aside from that, Datuk Seri Fadillah also confirmed that the TNG card for highway tolling will be taken out of commission in 2025, with SmartTAG set to be phased out soon after as well. It is estimated that there are currently more than 20 million TNG cards in circulation, with close to 91% of transactions carried out on the 31 highways within the country.
Additionally, Datuk Seri Fadillah stated that highway concessionaires have been instructed to prepare for the implementation of the multi-lane free flow (MLFF) system by 2025. To clarify, the MLFF system is a barrier-free tolling system, where there are no toll booths or dedicated lanes built. Instead, it utilises a gantry structure that is furnished with automated number plate recognition (ANPR) technology at specific locations.
The minister further shared that the government may consider a private investment model or private finance initiatives for the MLFF system if the situation calls for it, such as if the highway concessionaires encounters some delay. “The private investment model is for an open system. As you can see, there are many highways in the country and all the systems need to be integrated. If we look at Singapore and Taiwan, they have a single authority control (over the system),” he explained, adding that the MLFF system is a key factor in the Intelligent Transportation System blueprint for future highway networks.
Datuk Seri Fadillah also noted that the ANPR is already being tested in the pilot stage at the Kajang-Seremban Highway (LEKAS). “We are also looking at a proposal for a public-private partnership or PFI, subject to further discussion with the LEKAS concessionaire and another pilot project at Besraya Highway soon,” he added.
(Source: Free Malaysia Today)
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