Media Statement by Johore DAP Policy Director and Senai State Assemblyperson Wong Shu Qi on 14th September 2014 (Sunday):
BN’s suggestion of hourly train services for Malaysian commuters – Better late than never
We welcome the announcement by Johor EXCO Datuk Tee Siew Kiong that the government will request for KTM to implement hourly train services between Singapore’s Woodlands station and Johor Bahru Sentral.
Even though this announcement comes after a month of chaos and unnecessary burden to the people, it is better than no action at all by the authorities.
I have publicly stressed numerous times before and after the toll hike that we need to improve the public transport system of Johor urgently. The government has finally acknowledged the problems and are now willing to deal with it.
DAP representatives have met Johor EXCO Datuk Hj Hasni bin Hj Mohamad and Chairman of SPAD Tan Sri Syed Hamid to provide our ideas to improve the public transport system in Malaysia, and we hope that the government will accept our constructive comments and suggestions for the well-being of the people.
To ease the burden of the people and improve the well-being of all Johoreans, we urge the government to heed the following suggestions to improve the public transport system, especially in the Greater Johor Bahru area:
1. MRCB should provide a free shuttle bus for commuters between Johor Bahru CIQ and Singapore’s Woodlands checkpoint. The concessionaire should contribute at least RM1mil a month to assist the state government ease traffic congestion at the Causeway and encourage more car users to switch to the public transport option.
2. The Malaysian group led by Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid should discuss with Singaporean counterparts the possibility of opening up the Causeway to pedestrians. This will definitely encourage the public to take public transport rather than drive private vehicles that contribute to the traffic congestion on the Causeway.
3. Bring forward and accelerate the Komuter project for Iskandar Malaysia by ensuring that the double-tracking project be completed by 2015. Iskandar Malaysia has more than sufficient railway lines that pass through highly populated areas to implement the Komuter system successfully.
Most Southern Johoreans probably remember the Kulai-Tanjung Pagar ‘railbus’ service provided by KTM in the late ’80s and ’90s that went from Kulai to Johor Bahru and stopped at the Tanjung Pagar railway station. This service received overwhelming support from the people especially daily commuters who used the service to go to work and school. Yet it ceased to operate in the late ’90s and people were then forced to rely on their own vehicles to go to work.
With more than 200,000 commuters commuting daily between Malaysia and Singapore, any mass rapid transport service with relatively low costs would be viable as the operator would quickly break even.
Therefore, the government should not only increase train services between Johor Bahru Sentral and Singapore’s Woodlands, but expand it to become a comprehensive network of rail services. Then residents in Kulai, Senai, Skudai and Kempas will also benefit directly fro such a service. Otherwise, we are merely ‘relocating’ the traffic jams from the Causeway to downtown Johor Bahru, as people will still need to travel using private tranport options to get to the Johor Bahru Station.
The government should not wait any longer and must look into the possibilities of upgrading our public transportation service in one go right now.
Wong Shu Qi