OVERHAUL the transport system: How many times must the BN be told!

Posted on July 22, 2012. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods |

-Malaysia Chronicle–

Although the BN-led government has been in power for decades since Independence, there is a dire need by the governing authorities to formulate a comprehensive national Transport Master Plan with the aim of ensuring a sustainable environment.

Under the Government Transformation Plan (GTP), several agencies have been entrusted in creating a systematic public transport system in the country.

However, the National Key Results Area on Urban Public Transport, if read carefully, with input from all quarters, shows that the government has failed to address the common complaints facing the public transport system such as reliability, journey times, comfort, convenience, accessibility and connectivity.

Formation of policy planners

In the middle of 2010 the Land Public Transport Commission (LTC) was formed to become a single contact point for policy planning and regulatory oversight.

The LTC was established to resolve the problems of divisional jurisdiction and limitations on matters of land transport, as there are many agencies involved, each with its own complex and complicated vision and aspiration, in matters governing the public transport sector.

Prior to the setting up of the LTC, there were a whopping 15 (fifteen) agencies involved in the public transport sector, which was supposed to have been deliberately done so as to cause confusion and to create the opportunity to fuel corruption and abuses on a widespread scale from the time of the era of the Mahathir regime, as overlapping powers of authority were exercised by the governing authorities.

The fifteen government agencies involved were the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department, Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board, Transport Ministry’s Land Division, Railways Department, Road Transport Department, Road Safety Department, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety, the Housing and Local Government Ministry’s Urban and Rural Planning Department, the Energy, Technology and Water Ministry, the Department of Environment, the Works Ministry, the Tourism Commissioner, the Royal Malaysian Police, the Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Ministry as well as state governments and local authority.

It is precisely the unnecessarily complex and complicated structure put in place by the BN government of overseeing the inland transport system in the country that is responsible for a grossly inefficient and badly managed public transport system which has caused many Malaysians to opt for private transport thus contributing further to traffic gridlock.

LTC deemed ineffective

It is necessary for the LTC, a statutory body set up by the Land Public Transport Commission Act 2010, to draw up a comprehensive, one-stop Transport Master Plan as it draws up policies and gets involved in the planning, regulation and enforcement of laws, rules and regulations involving public land transport.

The powers of the LTC are stated in the Public Land Transport Act 2010 which was also passed by Parliament about the same time as the Land Public Transport Act.

However, the commission so far has been ineffective to establish a public transport system that is reliable, efficient, user-friendly, safe and especially that which is sustainable to the environment.

Perhaps the commission still needs time to get onto the right bandwidth. But the rising problems associated with transport woes especially in the Klang Valley is beginning to take its toll on public transport users and commuters are beginning to voice their complains in growing numbers.

The LTC needs to act fast and get its act together quickly to prevent a transport crisis from looming in the country.

Any further delay in providing a better and more comprehensive transport system for Malaysians may witness the collapse or breakdown of the burgeoning transport sector which is rife with gross inadequacies at present.

What transport experts say

Transport experts say what is needed to be undertaken by the LTC is to draw up a comprehensive Transport Master Plan to look into the overall aspects of the transport system in the country.

It is from there that the LTC should be able to formulate an effective strategy putting into place policies to be implemented to ensure the sustainability of the environment vis-à-vis the transport needs of Malaysians.

The drawing up of this Transport Master Plan must take into consideration future aspects of growth and envisage changes in the landscape of the country.

It must be pliable enough to take into account these factors, and along the way, accordingly update and review and formulate strategies to ensure a sustainable environment is in place to cater to the transportation needs of Malaysians.

Experts state that it is evident that Malaysian transport planners engaged by the BN government lack a clear vision of a congestion-free city in Malaysia which the LTC also seems to be clueless of at present.

Emulate successful transport models

They state that Singapore, despite the limited space of the island-state, is able to maintain free flowing traffic at all times of the day or night and enjoy a relativity higher quality of air and there are less pollutants being discharged by the operation of the different modes of their transport system

Singapore’s model of transport may not be wholly suitable to be emulated by Malaysia, but various aspects and measures of its transport system can be adopted by Malaysia, along with studies of the transport models in Japan and Western Europe as they appear to be successful in lowering their carbon emission from public and private transport vehicles to a large extent.

In the final analysis by transport experts in the country, it is argued by them that only a concerted effort and a cooperative approach by all parties in Malaysia will ensure that the country has a transport system that is efficient, comfortable and that which is also sustainable for the environment.

Malaysia Chronicle

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