Hours after Work Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Zin announced new toll rates for five highways which saw an increase increased from between 0.68 to 50 sen effective March 1, Abdullah issued a review order.

The reason behind the review order:

“The decision (on the hike) was made some two weeks ago. Things have changed since then. Our situation is not getting any better. We even have to draw up a second stimulus package in the form of a mini-budget.

“As such, I have asked the Cabinet to review the decision and look at other approaches,” he told the Malaysian media here at the end of the 3rd Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who will chair the cabinet meeting today, will be asked to look at other approaches to meet the demands of the highway and expressway concessionaires.

Apart from reviewing the toll rate – Abdullah’s administration also has softened an earlier ban on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by Christian publications to refer to God and is allowing them to use it as long as they specify the material is not for Muslims, a church official said on Thursday, reports Associate Press.

Is by-election the real reason the reviews?

Bet it is. Almost a year after the March 2008 general elections – Malaysians have gone to the ballot booths twice – Permatang Pauh and Kuala Terengganu. There are three by-elections to be held next few months. Immediately after taking over Najib will be facing first by-elections as PM in Bukit Selamabu and Bukit Gantang.

Another by-election will also be held at Batang Ai following the death of Datuk Dublin Unting – a BN state assemblyman. Pending court order is Pensiangan by-election.