PM Najib Razak said RM899 million will be allotted for rail facilities, RM820 million for ports and sea services and RM276 million for airport projects.
Surprisingly no mention was made regarding the upgrade and expansion of intra-city, intercity and rural-urban public transport system. There is a lack of connectivity between residential estates, office areas and public transport hubs e.g. LRT stations.
The whole public transport system has been quite piecemeal and inefficient. Using the public transport in Malaysia can also be quite expensive. A journey to the Pudu bus station from Petaling Jaya can cost a user more than RM20 if his/her housing area is not near a bus station which connects to the LRT station.
A foreign expatriate heading a major tourism board in Malaysia told me that a place like Penang needs a good, cheap and reliable public transport system in order to become a top tourist destination.
DAP's researcher Teh Chi-Chang pointed out accurately that the federal government should not run state based public transport. As a result, most of the cities (surprisingly including Kuala Lumpur) have suffered through a poor public transport system.
Tourists staying in Batu Feringghi would not venture out beyond 10pm fearing not being able to go back to their hotels. Hence, the city centre of Georgetown is anything but busy with activities. It is a boring dead city. It is a shame that it has yet to be able to live up to its world living heritage and culture status.
Buses were added only when there was an acute need. However, the number of buses and routes served are not adequate to provide a cheaper alternative to the public to assist their mobility.
Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat had recently taken a bus ride to experience for himself the public's frustration of the service. What is the government plan to help improve the public transport system?
Private car ownership is a burden to our consumption power. Most young graduates, many working in the sales and marketing line are obliged to buy a car, spend about 40% of their monthly salary on a car.
How many times do we have to remind the government to focus on the real issues? Funny, some civil servants are so reluctant to do something serious to address real issues but were so quick to help organise silly and risky events such as the 1Malaysia Camp to 'bodek' (apple polish) the government and impress the PM.
Najib said the government will also implement a more open automotive policy and will charge RM10,000 for each Approved Permit (AP) to distribute APs effective Jan 1 next year. AP will be scrapped after 2015.
My question is why only 2015? Why can't the AP be scrapped starting from next year if the government is serious enough to position Malaysia as a automotive hub? However, I am afraid that we have missed the boat. There is no way that we can match the prowess of Thai's Detroit.
Again, a portion of the fee will be channelled to the Bumiputera Development Fund in the automotive sector. How is the government going to determine that the fund is not going to go to the likes of Naza, Mofaz etc. which do not deserved to be helped?
Moreover, how many Malay SMEs can enter the auto parts market if the government does not change the whole education system to focus on merit and skills development?
I had a chat with a friend last night. Sadly, we both agree that Malaysia will be failed by the politicians.
Bad financial management, corruption and poor prioritisation will continue to bleed this nation.