If the Government can buy a new private jet, why can’t it subsidise public buses

Media statement by DAP MP for Kluang and National Political Education Director Liew Chin Tong on 21st March 2015

We now see a spectacular drama in full display: that Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai and Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi didn’t know about the multiple fare hike for bus, taxi, train services announced by Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), which under the Prime Minister’s Department.

It is a classic case of “the government’s left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing” and a clear case of strange, ridiculous and inefficient move under the rule of UMNO and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Three important points to note:

First, Malaysia has the most ridiculous institutional arrangement governing the Transport sector where the Ministry of Transport has no say over public transport.

I call on Minister of Transport Liow Tiong Lai to demand in the Cabinet for SPAD to be placed under the Ministry of Transport.

Liow must not allow this to continue as the current drama is just a symptom of the cancer that is affecting our political system.

An interesting twitter response I received has this to say “when individual body parts start to work individually instead of following the orders from the brain, it is called cancer.”

Second, the Land Public Transport Commission is responsible to the Prime Minister’s Department and Prime Minister Najib Razak cannot run away from the political responsibility of the decisions of SPAD.

Najib has to overrule the fare hike decision of SPAD immediately.

Third, public transport needs new ideas. If the government is so rich to purchase a new private jet, there is no reason why buses cannot be subsidised by the government.

Public transport is a social goods. The more people using public transport means the less people driving on the road. We need a paradigm shift from the government paying for road construction to the government paying for buses.

There is a need for major rethinking in the trasport sector and the current institutional arrangement is untenable.

Liew Chin Tong

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