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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on November 12, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and PLUS Malaysia Bhd announced yesterday that their joint-venture (JV) company, Touch ’n Go Sdn Bhd (TNG), will launch the radio frequency identification (RFID) tag as an additional payment option for road users at all PLUS expressways in the country next year.

The announcement came after the JV partners revealed late last month that they had reached a settlement, putting an end to their dispute over PLUS’ decision to launch its own toll collection system using the RFID.

CIMB holds a controlling 52% stake in TNG, while PLUS has a 28% stake and MTD Equity Sdn Bhd with 20%.

In a joint statement, CIMB and PLUS said the RFID payment option promises a seamless experience, with more options for paying tolls anchored on the concept of open payments, giving customers the choice to link their TNG RFID tags to any of their bank accounts, credit or debit cards, or the TNG e-wallet.

“It is the intent of CIMB and TNG to roll out the open payment facility to all toll highway concessionaires across Malaysia in the future. Over time, this RFID-driven payment mode is expected to replace the TNG card that has been the de facto mode of payment for toll transactions across the country,” the statement read.

TNG RFID services will be available at 10 open system toll plazas situated along PLUS expressways by Jan 1, 2020. The service will be rolled out at all 83 closed system toll plazas on PLUS expressways by April 1, 2020. As an addedd convenience, PLUS and TNB are also collaborating to enable PayDirect,  which allows users to pay toll fares directly from their e-wallets, across all PLUS expressways by the middle of 2020.

The open system toll plaza is a system where the toll fare is fixed based on the vehicle class, while a closed system is one where the rate is based on the vehicle class as well as the distance travelled from entry to exit on a particular highway.

CIMB and PLUS said “there will be absolutely no disruption to the current card, SmartTAG or PayDirect services”, and that the scheme is being coordinated and devised in collaboration with the ministry of transport, ministry of works and the Malaysian Highway Authority.

CIMB group chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz said CIMB is pleased to work with PLUS on the landmark initiative. “The democratisation of toll payments is something we fully champion and the CIMB teams, together with the teams at our subsidiary TNG, are committed to collaborating with PLUS and, in time, other highway concessionaires to make open payments an accessible reality for all Malaysians,” Tengku Zafrul said.

PLUS managing director Datuk Azman Ismail (pic), meanwhile, said giving more options to customers is an important aspect in enhancing their road journeys. “RFID transactions will be real-time as our highway customers will receive an immediate notification of their balance and CIMB/TNG have given their commitment to this high standard of service delivery,” added Azman.

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