The Works Ministry is reportedly working with various other ministries and the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to make evading toll payments a criminal offence in 2025.
According to a Free Malaysia Today (FMT) report, the government may introduce a new penal code that will list toll dodgers using the Multi-Lane Free Flow (MLFF) lanes on highways and expressways as criminals.
Works Minister Fadillah Yusof confirmed to the news portal that his ministry is leading the discussions in proposing a new criminal law against toll evaders. This will be part of the measures for the MLFF implementation in the next two years.
“This is to avoid leakages as we are looking into the provision of the law that includes a penal code and whether toll evasion can be considered a criminal offence since there is no lane barrier under MLFF,” he told FMT.
Fadillah also confirms that a new penal code and proposed amendments to relevant laws will be finalised soon. This will include amendments to the Road Transport Act 1987 as well.
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“To have an effective vehicle tracking and driver’s record system, you have to connect with the Road Transport Department (JPJ) database. The relevant law needs to be looked at. There may be a need for a (new) special law, or maybe, the current law needs to be amended,” he said.
The Works Minister also highlighted that the largest hurdle in implementing MLFF for the various highway concessionaire is the legal aspects regarding toll evaders.
FMT reports that the new move to introduce a new law against toll dodgers is due to concerns raised by the highway concessionaires on the risk and probability of high unpaid toll under the MLFF.
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Unfortunately for highway concessionaires, they are still unable to recover the amount lost to unpaid tolls as toll dodgers are only fined RM 2,000 to RM 5,000 upon conviction under Section 8 of the Federal Roads (Private Management) Act 1984.
To recover the amount toll evaders owe the concessionaires will require legal action on the concessionaire’s part.
For example, just last year, the Federal Court upheld a decision by the High Court and Court of Appeal to allow Plus Malaysia Berhad to recover RM 518,369 worth of unpaid toll fares.
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The amount does not include the additional RM 100,000 from a logistic company for toll evasion committed by its drivers involving 19 vehicles over several years.
Hence the need for stricter laws on toll dodgers and why the concessionaires of the 31 highways and expressways in Malaysia have insisted to the government for an enhanced legal framework.
They also requested for an effective mechanism of recovering unpaid tolls before MLFF is fully implemented.