From SPAD to APAD: Transport Ministry defends agency amid ‘teething problems’

Anthony Loke speaks during a visit to the Land Public Transport Agency’s Central Territory office in Kelana Jaya January 25, 2019. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Anthony Loke speaks during a visit to the Land Public Transport Agency’s Central Territory office in Kelana Jaya January 25, 2019. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

PETALING JAYA, Jan 25 — The backlog in the issuance of licences for public transport vehicles is among the “teething problems” to be expected after the government regulator underwent a transformation, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said today.

The Land Public Transport Agency (APAD), previously known as the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), began operating on January 7 and has been criticised by the public for the delay in processing licence applications.

“Such teething problems are to be expected, given the transition from the former Land Public Transport Commission to the current APAD,” Loke told reporters during a working visit to APAD’s Central Territory office in Kelana Jaya here.

Another pressing issue the agency faces is the shortage of personnel, the minister said, adding that the total number of job vacancies is 361.

“However only 253 have been filled so far, leaving the remaining 108 empty. For example the Kelana Jaya office should accommodate 91 staff but only has 64 for now.

“Hopefully the Public Service Department can expedite the application process for those who have expressed interest in joining the agency,” Loke said.

He said although he understands the department has to do rigorous vetting before it allows anyone to join public service, he hoped the vacancies can be filled soon.

Loke said the ministry views APAD operations seriously, and as such will assist it in resolving the backlogs.

“If need be we will instruct the existing staff to take overtime so the backlog of applications can be cleared.

“It is especially critical as it involves the public sector, including permit renewals for cab drivers, bus drivers, and commercial vehicles. So we are mindful of the potential impact,” he said.

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