Thursday, March 19, 2009

Public Transport Commission Stillborn?

The Prime Minister announced with great fanfare, a specially set up "Public Transport Commission" or "Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam" on the 26th June 2008, nearly 9 months ago. This was in response to the steep increase in fuel prices. But after repeated chest thumping by Barisan Nasional minister over how the commission will act and transform Malaysia's public transport system, we really have yet to see anything. The Star even headlined "Government all out to improve public transportation system". In fact as late as November, the Minister in PM's office insisted that the commission will be set up by March this year.

I asked the Prime Minister's office, which subsequently redirected the question to the Minister of Finance on: 
kedudukan penubuhan Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam dan dana pengangkutan awam sebanyak RM35 bilion yang telah diumumkan sejak Jun tahun lalu. Senaraikan jumlah perbelanjaan daripada dana ini yang akan dibelanjakan mengikut projek pembangunan perkhidmatan pengangkutan awam pada tahun 2009 dan 2010.
The response was brief, and probably more illuminating in terms of the devoid of content, than the content itself.
Untuk maklumam yang Berhormat, bagi meningkatkan kecekapan pengangkutan awam, sejumlah RM35 bilion telah diperuntukan dalam tempoh 2009 hingga 2014 bagi meningkatkan kapasiti perkhidmatan rel sedia ada, membina laluan rel baru, menambah bilangan bas serta menyediakan kemudahan infrastruktur berkaitan. Daripada jumlah tersebut sebanyak RM22.2 bilion diperuntukkan kepada Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (Prasarana) bagi pelaksanaan projek lanjutan Aliran Kelana Jaya dan juga Ampang, penambahan gerabak LRT Kelana Jaya, Aliran bary Kota Damansara, 200 unit bas Rapid Penang dan Terminal Pengangkutan Bersepadu.

Di samping itu, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) diperuntukan sebanyak RM800 uta bagi pembaikpulihan Electric Multiple Unit (EMU), pembelian EMU baru dan projek landasan berkembar Sentul - Batu Caves. Selain itu, sejumlah RM12 bilion adalah bagi projek landasan berkembar Sentul - Batu Caves. Selain itu, sejumlah RM12 bilion adalah bagi projek landasan berkembar Ipoh - Padang Besar.
I had 2 parts to my question:
  1. What happened to the Public Transport Commission? No mention at all.

  2. What will be spent in 2009 and 2010? No mention at all.
Instead I get all sorts of listing of projects which the Government "intends" to undertake with no timelines attached.

Hence I can only assume, that the Public Transport Commission is dead. And no money or very little of it will be spent on these major public transportation initiatives in the next 2 years.

Wait til the next oil crisis with price shoots up again, and you'll then find the BN government giving all sorts of promises on public transport again. It happened in 2006, it happened in 2008, and I'm sure it'll be the same in 2010 again.
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