SeaDemon Says

Posts Tagged ‘transportation

Long before most netizens and majority of the current workforce were born, DAP’s Emperor Lim Kit Siang complained on 1st September 1977 about the lack of public transport and increase in fares by now-defunct well-known bus company, Sri Jaya.  Four days later, he called for the resignation of both Ganie Gilong of Sabah who was the Transport Minister, and Dr Goh Cheng Teik who was the Deputy Transport Minister to resign.

Political and monetary instabilities as a result of the international monetary crises in the early 1970s and the oil crisis in late 1973 contributed to the worldwide recession, stagflation and very slow recovery.  Consumer Price Index (1967 = 100) jumped by 10.5 percent in 1973 and 17.4 percent the following year. In 1977 it was down to 4.7 percent, the lowest since 1973, and the CPI figure never went down further until 1984.

Money, Income and Prices of Malaysia (1966-89) from the book The Monetary and Banking Development of Singapore and Malaysia by Sheng-Yi Lee

It was a time when Malaysians could hardly afford anything. In order to assist the rakyat, Tun Abdul Razak set up the Restoran Rakyat in August 1973. It was where a nasi lemak breakfast would cost only 20 sen and a simple lunch of rice, fish curry and vegetables would cost only 80 sen.  Of course, 20 sen those days is like RM2.00 of today but any balanced meal today that costs less than RM10.00 per plate is greatly welcomed.

The Restoran Rakyat, near today’s Dataran Merdeka – Tun Razak’s way of helping the rakyat in KL to overcome inflation (courtesy of harithsidek.blogspot.com)

Also introduced by Tun Razak was the BMW – Bas Mini Wilayah, in September 1975.  The fare to any destination was 40 sen then and was only increased to 50 sen in 1991 and 60 sen two years later.  The BMW services were discontinued in July 1998 when it was replaced by Intrakota and subsequently RapidKL in 2005.

The notorious BMW – BERNAMA Images/Paul Tan

Today, as a result of a great foresight by the current government, land public transport and infrastructure have improved in leaps and bounds.  According to a research report published on the 4th April 2017 by the Financial Times, Malaysia’s transport users get the best deals in ASEAN.

Graphs comparing Malaysia and the rest of the ASEAN-5 in terms of spending on transport as well as the WEF’s ranking for the ASEAN-5 transportation infrastructure (Financial Times)

The graph shows that Malaysian commuters spend about USD12 per day on commuting as opposed to Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines where commuting could cost up to USD20 per day, the only exception being Thailand where it could get to USD15 per day.

Malaysia is also ranked in the Top 20 from 138 nations in terms of transportation infrastructure, according to the World Economic Forum.

Malaysian spending on transportation rose to 0.7 percent of the GDP in 2016 compared to 2015, and the Financial Times research report attributes this to Prime Minister Najib Razak who continues to make infrastructure a key priority.

While the completion of the MRT SBK (Sungai Buloh-Kajang) Line 1 targetted for July 2017 and the construction of the MRT SSP (Sungai Buloh-Putrajaya) Line 2 and LRT 3 now taking place, urban and suburban dwellers in the Klang Valley can expect a much economical and more integrated mode of getting around, while feeder services such as the ETS, KTM Komuter, and the soon-to-be-expected HSR and double-tracking projects will allow growth in other areas and allow for cross-country commuting to and from work.

Projects like the ECRL and the Pan-Borneo highway will provide for the growth and availability of jobs not only in the urban areas but also in greenfields as well as pockets of rural towns where meaningful economic activities have thus far eluded.

With a projected population of 32.5 million by 2030, elaborate and efficient land public transport systems must be in place to ensure efficient mobility within and between spatial conurbations across Malaysia while the introduced National Land Public Transport Master Plan (NLPTMP) will ensure continual improvements and additions are made to the land public transport systems.

Malaysians should be thankful that plans have been made to improve transportation infrastructure instead of constantly complaining.

Another promise delivered, another history made.

Today, Phase One of the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line service comes online.

This service plies between the Sungai Buloh KTM station and the Semantan station (across from UOA Jalan Semantan) will run for free for a month until the 16th January 2016.


The project will be completed earlier than planned at RM2 billion less than the RM23 billion projected.

This is RM77 billion less than what was blurted out by PKR’s habitual and court-proven liar, Rafizi Ramli.


Once completed in April 2017, the MRT Line 1 will connect suburban areas with the urban networks servicing the city of Kuala Lumpur such as the LRT and KL Monorail.

Prime Minister Najib Razak also made it a project term that there would be Bumiputera participation in all aspects of the project.

While previous administrations emphasised on 30 percent Bumiputera participation, Najib Razak through MRT Corporation ensured a minimum of 50 percent Bumiputera participation in the civil elevated works (viaducts and stations).

Only in the underground works (tunneling and stations) as well as non-civil works (systems and integration) where foreign expertise is needed, Bumiputera participation must be at 30 percent or higher through joint-venture companies to ensure that technology knowledge-transfer takes place.

I must make mention of two things. I was fortunate to have spent a large chunk of my time in the MRT project under the tutelage of Michael Harfoot, a Welsh resident of Hong Kong, who is very knowledgeable in the field of urban railway construction.

Mr Harfoot remains one of the rare Chief Resident Engineers who could do and read as-built drawings without the use of computer aids. He also imparts knowledge to the local engineers with much zest.

Michael Harfoot (second from right) taking his staff on an MRT ride today


Secondly, the project would not have succeeded without the unenviable tasks of communicating with the public,especially with stakeholders – facing the brunt of public anger and so on.

Datuk Najmuddin Abdullah and his team from the Strategic Communications and Stakeholder Relations division had done very well in ensuring that things are communicated to and from the public.

Datuk Najmuddin is no stranger to the management of crises. He handled the communications during the MH370 and MH17 tragedies.

We should also not forget the tens of thousands of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indonesian workers who toiled to complete this project under the hot sun, doing work that no Malaysian would, and pouring rain, braving snake bites and dengue fever, who are forever thankful that Malaysia is still the land of milk and honey for them and the families that they feed.

If this country is truly going down the drains, they would have quit their job and moved elsewhere.

I look forward to taking my first train up to Putrajaya in ten years’ time.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is confident that the 350-kilometre high-speed rail (HSR) link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore would bring both countries even closer together.

Facing a technical recession where the economy is more or less stagnant, Lee Hsien Loong has constantly reminded small and medium enterprises in Singapore to expand to neighbouring countries.

Hence, the HSR is truly important for Singapore to see that the project is completed within the stipulated ten-year period.

For Malaysia, it would definitely boost tourism as it opens up lesser known towns on the southwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia to tourists from Singapore.

As a matter of fact, Singapore’s Straits Times has printed a guide on the places that could be visited once the HSR is in operation.

Not only that, as with the rail system run by the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM), areas surrounding the HSR link would definitely see an increase in both development and prosperity as connectivity improves.

While the 10-year timeframe is a “relatively short period of time” given the size and complexity of the project, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he is committed to meeting the deadline.

We have to work very closely together and be very focused, and we must overcome all the challenges as we move ahead,” he said.
Although Malaysia and Singapore are both different countries, they share a common history. Many from both countries are related and cross-border marriages are rife.

Perhaps Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has summed it all in the best way: “Our relationship with Malaysia is strong and flourishing. We are bound by history, kinship, culture and strong people-to-people ties.”

There is no doubt that the people from both countries would benefit from this single link.


It seems giving things away for free is DAP’s way of making fools out if some voters.

Among the things promised to Sarawakians is to provide free transportation to school.

This reminds me of the same thing DAP promised to Penangites in 2011:


Penangites were delighted. Penang became the first state to provide free transportation for workers on both sides of the Penang Channel. Every single pro-Pakatan blog showered Lim Guan Eng’s administration with praises. DAP won Penang for a second term in 2013.

A mere four years later, came the crunch:


Now that the poorer Penangites no longer occupy the island because of rising costs of living, Lim Guan Eng could do as he pleases, just as he did with the land at Taman Manggis allocated for housing the poor. The BEST FIZ service he gave to voters to win the 2013 elections…well, fizzled. You can read more about it HERE.

It would be interesting to see how DAP plans to give free transportation say for example in this remote village in Sarawak I visited earlier this month:


The distance from the farthest village to the school is about seven kilometers. Perhaps DAP people see Sarawak as a flat land as in the in-flight magazine’s map while flying to Sarawak.

DAP only has the urban voters in mind where a very small portion of the Sarawak Bumiputra would benefit from this.  And as Violet Yong, the DAP rep for Pending (a suburban area of Kuching) said in 2013, it is the voice for one race.

I would go with Adenan Satem’s manifesto for BN for being more people friendly, realistic and holistic – encompassing all races! So much for calling BN a racist party.


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