KUALA LUMPUR – The Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) is expected to further discuss the fuel subsidy, Goods and Services Tax, Sales and Services Tax and the abolition of road tolls in a series of meetings to be held next week, says Tun Daim Zainuddin.
Daim, who heads the CEP, also said the council would meet with companies owned by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, including Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), and the Inland Revenue Board.
To recap, over the past six days, the council held 40 meetings and met with 50 individuals including senior government officers and the heads of government-linked companies, non-government organisations, corporations, trade unions, Cuepecs, bankers and regulators.
On the removal of toll charges, the outcome would only be finalised after the CEP meets all stakeholders, Daim said, reiterating that the council would honour Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto.
The government is expected to announce new toll charges for expressways, which sent toll operators into a sombre mood as the Pakatan Harapan promise to abolish toll collection impacted the share price of these companies and this would affect the concessionaires.
Meanwhile, commenting on the country’s fiscal policies, he said that the numbers that were reported cannot be manipulated as they are the accounts (that reflected the growth numbers).
“On how sound our fiscal policies are, we have to call the Ministry of Finance and get the current situation (of the country’s economic performance) … until then i wouldn’t know,” Daim said.
To a question related to the budget deficit, he said that the council would gather information and data before making any conclusion on the state’s economy performance.
On the potential downgrade of Malaysia’s credit rating by international rating agencies, he said it should not be of concern.
“That’s bond debts and roughly, it is about RM54 billion to RM55 billion. That’s why I said they (the toll-road stakeholders) will report to me on the tolls.
“The Employees Provident Fund, Tabung Haji and Permodalan Nasional Bhd have plenty of cash,” he said without elaborating.
The Bond Price Agency reported that outstanding bonds from various toll concessionaires totalled RM55.3 billion. – BERNAMA