If I owe, I’ll pay, Azmin says on outstanding travel bills

(FMT) – Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali today said he would pay any travel bills he might owe, in the wake of a report claiming that a travel agency is taking him to court over RM300,000 in outstanding bills.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Malaysia Sustainable Development Goals Summit 2019 here, he said he had not seen the writ of summons reportedly issued to him.

“I have asked my officers to check the claims,” he added. “If there are outstanding payments, I have to pay.”

The article by Sarawak Report said Azmin was being taken to court over the outstanding bills which include bills for private family trips and his trip to Sandakan during the by-election there earlier this year.

When asked why he was reportedly being taken to court, Azmin said he did not know.

“It is being checked,” he said on the travel agency’s claims. “If there are debts, they must be paid and I will pay, but let us check first.”

READ MORE HERE: Pro-Anwar Ibrahim Sarawak Report Launches Attack On Azmin Ali

On the issue of toll takeovers, including a proposal for Putrajaya to take over PLUS Malaysia Bhd, Azmin said nothing had been decided.

“We have received many proposals but we have not made a decision.”

He said Khazanah, which holds a 51% stake in PLUS, is studying all of the proposals whether from the government or the private sector, and will present them to the Cabinet through the works ministry.

He said the government must consider the impact of any takeover of PLUS, including the possible financial implications.

“What is important is, we want to fulfil our responsibility to road users to reduce their costs,” he said, adding that this included looking at ways to reduce or abolish toll rates.

“If we refer to the Pakatan Harapan manifesto, it says we will discuss this in stages with the concessionaires.

“All of this is being considered as we do not want to burden the government’s finances while helping the people.”

A well-placed source previously told FMT that a proposal had been submitted for Putrajaya to take over PLUS.

Under the proposal, the government would fork out over RM35 billion to take over PLUS and its liabilities and collect tolls for an additional 20 years.

The trade-off would be an 18% discount for road users, with no increase in toll rates which is expected to save the government billions in compensation to toll companies.