Who to blame for our poor public transport system?

Letter to Editor

THAT the public transport system has ‘third class maintenance’ is nothing new but it is time for the present government under Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to make the necessary changes to bring it to the next level.

Several years ago, I was informed by a friend who works with the Express Rail Link (ERL) that when they did a complete overhaul of the system, the engineers working on the ERL were shocked to see the ERL in total shambles.

What shocked my friend is that even though things were already falling apart, the ERL was still running. Isn’t this familiar to our Malaysian mindset?

In fact, this mindset is pervasive throughout the entire system of government. Decades ago, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad lambasted the civil servants for their third-class maintenance, too.

Yet, nothing has improved. Recently, I highlighted to the Selayang Municipal Council that the blue paint on many of its signage posts for housing estates have faded away.

One particular one has already shown signs of rust, yet the response from the council staff was to wait for the road expansion next year before they repaint the signage.

In my opinion, they are waiting for the next opportunity to change to a new signage post instead of maintaining the old one.

Who to blame?

Therefore, it is no surprise that the LRT, KTM Komuter and even the Monorail systems continue to rot under poor maintenance.

From being a strong proponent of public transport, these days I also avoid using the trains. In the past, after I introduced a last mile shuttle service, I used KTM Komuter daily.

It is not because they do not have enough passengers during peak hours. Instead, people – especially right at the top of the hierarchy – have their own agenda. They are not interested in solving the public complaints about delays and breakdowns.

It does not take much effort to guess what is on their mind most of the time. If anything is approved, the question is always the same: “What is there for me?” This formula applies to nearly every senior level in both government and private sector.

Unless Anwar first revamp the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and purge out the corrupt ones within the system, there will always be cases that are classified as “No Further Action”.

As a result, the culture of corruption continues, which explains why incompetent contractors get the contracts. Both the competent contractors and the government servants get demoralised as a result.

If he cares to read Barry Wain’s book “Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times” Anwar should be fully aware by now why senior civil servants who are also senior UMNO members is clearly a conflict of interest.

Money politics was an issue in the 1990s, and it is getting even worse now. We have often heard millions were being offered for members of parliament to hop to another party, causing the collapse of an entire government which clearly had the people’s mandate.

UMNO, too, has suffered from its own party hoppers. This is why the Anti-hopping Law was introduced, but it needs to be further tightened to prevent another collapse of an elected government.

Until the system is fixed, I have little hope for Anthony Loke, the newly-minted Transport Minister to do anything significant to turn around the entire public transport system. – Dec 13, 2022


Stephen Ng
Kuala Lumpur

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main pic credit: Harakah Daily

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