Joint Media Statement by Senai State Assemblyperson, Wong Shu Qi and Bekok State Assemblyperson, Lim Eng Guan on 14th November 2013 (Thursday) at 2014 Johore State Budget Assembly Sitting:
Improve the Johore public transportation service quality before it’s too late.
We are surprised to listen to the Bukit Permai Assemblyman, Y.B. Ali Mazat bin Salleh’s explanation on the highest number of motorcycle in Johore. It’s an irresponsible statement and attitude that shouldn’t be presented by an assemblyman who is an elected representative of the ruling party.
According to the draft transcript of state assembly sitting, Y.B. Ali Mazat bin Salleh said in his debate yesterday:
“Tapi, saya nak beritahu Datuk Speaker dan sidang dewan, yang pengangkutan awam tak baik bukan negara kita, bukan negeri kita, tapi jiran kita. Kalau mereka ni tak beli motor Datuk Speaker, mereka tak boleh sampai tempat kerja on time. Mereka tak boleh sampai tempat kerja dalam masa yang tepat, kerana motor-motor yang dibeli ini bukan guna kat tempat kita. Motor-motor yang orang Johor Bahru beli ini sebab pagi-pagi nak masuk negara sebelah pergi kerja.
Sebab itu kalau tak percaya, kita duduk Tambak kita tengok, tiap-tiap hari pagi petang, berapa puluh ribu motor keluar masuk, keluar masuk. Kerana apa mereka beli motor, kerana pengangkutan awam negara sebelah tu tak menampung. Kalau betul bagus, orang tak naik motor pergi sebelah tu. Naik bas dan boleh sampai tempat kerja, tapi sebab tak boleh sampai mereka terpaksa beli motor. Tetapi janganlan kita kaitkan motor tu dengan negeri kita. Orang beli motor sebab pengangkutan awam kita tak baik, tak payah, orang Johor ini tak payah motor, orang jalan kaki pun tak apa. Motor ini sebab nak pergi kerja, nak cari makan dekat sebelah tu, itu sebab banyak motor.”
We are amazed to see how an UMNO assemblyperson passing the buck to Singapore’s government and twisting the fact on the highest number of motorcycle in Johore.
Undoubtedly, we can’t deny that there are tens of thousands motorcyclists go to Singapore to earn their living everyday with their motorcycles. Yet, Y.B. Ali Mazat must not know that those Malaysian workers who have working permit can only drive their Malaysia registered car into Singapore with paying SGD 20 on daily basis while motorists have to pay SGD 4 per trip.
Those who want to make their ends meet are trying very hard to save their money from spending. They ride because it is expensive to drive, and it’s difficult for them to commute from their home to downtown without having their own vehicles.
Furthermore, what we were discussing in the assembly sitting was the surprisingly highest registered motorcycle number under JPJ in Johore, which was recorded at 1,574,475 by 2012.
Johore had about 3.35 million populations in 2010 national census report. The private vehicles registered under JPJ are recorded at about 2.88 million (2,886,491), which includes the cars and motorcycles.
The figures show that almost every single Johorean might own either a motorcycle or car; we have about 861 vehicles per 1000 people. The congestion at Pasir Gudang Highway and Senai industrial area are caused by heavy traffic flow as workers in those areas are forced to take their own vehicles since public transportation service is yet to be reliable.
While we must note here that Malaysia is only ranked at 47 out of 192 countries in the global ranking of vehicles per capita with 361 road motor vehicles per 1000 people, as the calculation excludes motorcycle and other two-wheelers, there is still legitimate to ask why Johor recorded the highest number of motorcycle in Malaysia?
There is only an answer to the question, the poorer household who can’t afford to buy a car yet can’t live without a private vehicle is forced to buy a motorcycle as the public transportation service is not up to standard.
As we have elaborated in our speeches in assembly sitting, the deteriorating service of public transportation is one of the root causes to the problem.
We are not denying the effort contributed by the state government, especially the Perbadanan Pengangkutan Awam Iskandar Malaysia (PAIM), which tasked to design and implement the public transportation policies for Iskandar region, but we worry that Johoreans will suffer more if state government doesn’t take immediate action to remedy the problem.
Firstly, the importance of rail transportation has been neglected and dismissed as a main commuting service from town to town. Number of passenger declines further due to fewer number of trains. Bekok is the best place to depict the problem, as there is only one train from Bekok to Segamat while passengers who take train out in the morning have to wait till late evening for the returning trip.
Besides that, we have to improve the bus services to encourage Johoreans to commute with bus instead of driving their own car to work. The only way to achieve the goal is by assuring passengers can get on the bus on time and having good feeder bus system that allow passengers not to walk more than 15 minutes from their home to bus stop.
Reducing our reliance on private vehicles will not only relieve the traffic congestion, but also cut back our carbon footprints, which is definitely a goal that Johore state government plans to achieve.
Moreover, Johore recorded the second highest number of road accidents in 2011 with number of 59,501 and the highest number of death in road accident, which recorded at 1073. With improving public transportation, we will be reducing the lives we lost on road as well.
Therefore, we hereby call upon the state government to implement the feeder bus system as soon as possible and improve the Johore public transportation service quality before it’s too late.
Lim Eng Guan, Bekok Assemblyperson
Wong Shu Qi, Senai Assemblyperson