Improving Malaysia’s rail networks, services tops govt’s public transport to-do list, says deputy minister

Kamaruddin said railway services in Malaysia are under-utilised and the government hopes that more Malaysians will use them in the future. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Kamaruddin said railway services in Malaysia are under-utilised and the government hopes that more Malaysians will use them in the future. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — The government is emphasising more on improving railway networks and services as it will help increase public usage and the transportation of freight, says Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Kamaruddin Jaffar.

He said railway services in Malaysia are still considered under-utilised and the government hopes that more Malaysians would use them in the future, especially when major rail projects are fully completed.

He added that the government has always given priority to improving public transport with several large-scale public transport projects under construction in the Klang Valley such as the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya MRT and the LRT3 projects, which would boost economic growth while increasing the use of public transport in the Klang Valley.

“Although a strong public transport system is the catalyst for growth, the key always lies in the business community.

“As many of you here are in the private sector, I would like to strongly urge you to give serious consideration to spreading your business operations to other states and cities and help create new jobs for the people,” he said in his keynote address at the 2020 Malaysia Economic and Strategic Outlook Forum here today.

To ensure connectivity in urban areas, the government has also improved public transport coverage including introducing three new routes last year for GoKL’s free bus service, he noted.

Kamaruddin pointed out that first-mile, last-mile connectivity is always a challenge in transportation, noting that one of the strategies to tackle it is by leveraging new emerging technologies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as Internet of Things, machine learning, big data analytics and cloud computing.

“E-hailing for example is one of the solutions to the first-mile, last-mile issue. In today’s digital age, e-hailing does not only stand as a transportation solution, but it also acts in a larger setting including through seamless payments and job creation, as well as shaping a lifestyle and economy,” he added.

Kamaruddin said the government has also embarked on a proof of concept programme for bike-hailing services since early January within the Klang Valley.

He added that the trial period is for six months with the objective to evaluate the feasibility and cultural fit of bike-hailing in the local context.

The government also needs to ensure equality and balance in the transport industry particularly between various public transport service operators in the spirit of Shared Prosperity Vision 2020, he said.

Initiatives taken by the government include improvements in ensuring a level playing field in the taxi and e-hailing industry such as opening up vehicle and model choices for taxi use.

The one-day forum was jointly organised by the Kingsley Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific, the Economic Club of Kuala Lumpur and the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI). — Bernama

Related Articles