KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is placed under the Prime Minister’s Department so the Transport Ministry (MOT) can focus on the already broad areas of aviation, sea transport and private road vehicles, a minister told the DAP.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, who is in charge of SPAD, said the government also wanted an entity with its own pool of resources and expertise to concentrate on improving the quality of land public transport.
“This will allow MOT to fully focus on other areas such as millions of private vehicles on the road, aviation and sea transport industry, which are still very broad and need focus too, and [MOT] can fully utilise their resources (experts, workforce and funds) without being distracted with issues pertaining to land public transport,” Nancy told Malay Mail Online.
“Transportation is a very wide area, consisting of private and commercial vehicles, land, sea and air. Land public transport is part of it, but a very huge industry by itself. The government has put priority on providing good, reliable and affordable land public transport,” she said.
After Tan Sri Isa Samad resigned as Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) chairman on Monday and was immediately appointed as acting chairman of SPAD, DAP national political education director Liew Chin Tong repeated his calls for SPAD and for public transport to be moved to the MOT.
The Kluang MP also said yesterday that SPAD should be placed under the MOT to help reduce Malaysia’s road fatalities rate — reportedly 23 per 100,000 people annually — that was close to the rate for low-income economies at 24.1 deaths per 100,000 people. The average for middle-income economies and high-income economies respectively, according to a Bloomberg report, was 18.4 and 9.3.
Nancy told Malay Mail Online in response that SPAD merely dealt with vehicle permits, while safety matters came under the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) that was under the MOT.
“Hence, MOT is very much in control as well.
“High road accidents are not due to SPAD being under [Prime Minister’s Department] or MOT. Accidents occur due to other factors such as technical errors, for example, bus condition and driver’s negligence,” she said.
When asked about Liew’s suggestion that public transport be decentralised to state governments, Nancy said the area was under federal jurisdiction under the Road Transport Act 1987.
“If state feels that they want to take over, the states can discuss the matter with federal,” she said.