KUALA LUMPUR – Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday announced several measures aimed at easing the financial burden of Malaysians ahead of the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festivities this weekend.
These include lifting all toll charges on the country’s highways for four days from April 19-21 and on April 24, as millions make their way back to their home towns, and an extra public holiday to extend the celebrations. The move affects 33 tolled highways.
The largest highway operator Plus Malaysia expects some two million vehicles will use its network daily during Hari Raya, 20 per cent higher than on normal days.
Malaysians will also get a four-day holiday from Friday to Monday, regardless of whether Hari Raya falls on Friday or Saturday, said Mr Anwar. Malaysian officials will on Thursday determine the start of the annual Muslim festival.
Singapore will mark Hari Raya on Saturday.
Spreading further joy to motorists, PM Anwar also announced a special discount for traffic fines issued in 2022 and before, with each fine reduced to RM50 (S$15).
Special discounts on raw ingredients such as chicken and onions will be given to traders offering cheap meals to lower-income consumers in a programme called Menu Rahmah, he added.
The government is working with selected supermarkets to offer their operators special prices.
“We are aware of the cost that has to be borne by the operators for raw materials and food items. We hope this initiative will bring relief to operators and ensure the continuity and sustainability of the Menu Rahmah programme,” he said.
The Menu Rahmah initiative was launched in January this year, with over 15,000 food outlets nationwide providing meals for as low as RM5, as a way of fighting inflation.
Besides announcing goodies for Hari Raya, Mr Anwar also touched on other issues including reducing the cost of cement for affordable-housing developers and additional allocation for the maintenance of federal roads.
The government will spend an additional RM250 million for road repairs that would be contracted to small bumiputera contractors. This is in addition to RM750 million already budgeted for road repair and maintenance work under Budget 2023, raising the total to RM1 billion.
“The federal government understands the importance and necessity of regular maintenance work on federal roads so that they are safe and comfortable for public use,” he said.
“This refers specifically to potholes which are among contributors to road accidents.”
Source: The Straits Time