PETALING JAYA, May 27 — Former transport minister Anthony Loke has urged the government to solve traffic congestion in the country, specifically in city centres.
He said traffic has seen a two-fold increase compared to pre-pandemic times in 2019 as more people return to work.
“From news reports, according to the TomTom Traffic Index, congestion at peak hours in the morning and evenings in the capital has become worse in the past seven days, compared to before the Covid-19 pandemic arrived in the country.
“Before, we only experienced traffic congestion during peak hours, but now even off-peak hours at 3pm for example there is traffic congestion,” he told reporters during a press conference here today.
Loke said he decided to take public transport after reading the news today and noticed that service was not as smooth as he thought it would be.
“This is when I realise that Malaysians are facing stress even when they opt to take public transport.
“More accidents occur each day now, although I don’t have the exact figures, but if you drive, you will understand the road condition and how people behave on the road,” he added.
Loke also said this situation is not only isolated in the Klang Valley, as he experienced similar traffic congestion during a recent journey to Seremban.
“It took me two hours to drive back to Seremban when it was only a 60km journey.
“What is happening? The government needs to get to the bottom of this. Malaysians cannot wait anymore.
“Don’t wait for studies to be done, just get down to the ground and try to solve the problems from there,” he said.
He added that the problem is not only the responsibility of the Transport Ministry; other ministries too have the responsibility to look into how they can work together to solve this problem that is affecting the entire country.
“The Transport Ministry could work with the Federal Territories Ministry, for a start, to address traffic congestion in the Kuala Lumpur city centre.
“That’s just an example, but it has to be done immediately,” he said.
According to a report by Malaysiakini, the TomTom Traffic Index records urban congestion in 404 cities worldwide, using data recorded by TomTom navigation devices, in-dash systems, and the TomTom mobile application.
The anonymised data was shared publicly, allowing users to view hourly data in real-time for the past seven days or 48 hours, and compare it with 2019 and 2021 levels.
Last week, motorists took to social media lamenting worsening traffic conditions during their commute to and from work.
According to these motorists, although work hours officially end at either 5.30pm or 6pm, congestion on the road lasted up to 8pm and beyond.
The motorists also expressed that if this was the daily traffic condition, this meant that motorists need to leave home early and would in turn affect one's mental well-being.