Media Statement by Liew Chin Tong in Penang on
Thursday, 20th November 2008:
SPAD unlikely to improve public
transport in its current format
Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat (SPAD)
(Public Land Transport Commission) is unlikely to improve public
transport if there is no major rethinking on the part of the government.
I have previously applauded the
federal government’s decision to form a public transport commission as
it is long overdue; I am disappointed by the parliamentary reply of
Deputy Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk S. K. Davansamy
First, it was only after my repeated
requests that the Deputy Minister provided the Parliament a date – March
2009 – when the bill for the formation of the Commission would be
presented to Parliament.
But he then qualified it by saying
that although the suggestion for SPAD to be set up was put forth in the
Ninth Malaysia Plan, it involved a wide range of stakeholders and hence
SPAD’s implementation would take time.
In other words, with the government’s
current mindset, it will probably take years to finally see the
Commission gets down to business.
Second, the reply to my question why
the Commission was not placed under the Ministry of Transport, the
government is of the view that there are too many agencies involved in
the public transport sector.
The crux of the problem is that there
are too many cooks that are spoiling the soup, making Malaysia’s public
transport ridership decline from 30 percent 20 years ago to a mere 16
The formation of the Commission was
meant to streamline the sector so that decisions are all made with the
sole objective of turning public transport services in Malaysia into a
world class one with an eventual target of at least 60 percent ridership
within a reasonable time frame.
In relation to that, the government
should not restrict the mandate of the commission to “land transport”
but should look at all available options of public transport in the hope
that the entire system is holistic and not piecemeal.
* Liew Chin Tong, DAP International Secretary & MP for