Media Statement by Johore DAP Policy Director and Senai State Assemblyperson Wong Shu Qi on 4th August 2014 (Monday):
Only irresponsible government would punish people for driving own vehicles while public transport service can’t cope with the commuter’s need
The 480% toll hike at CIQ is a powerful deterrence tool to reduce number of cars and congestion while it may also increase number of motorcycles and road accident fatalities.
Undoubtedly, toll hike or VEP are feasible policy tool to reduce people’s will of driving own vehicles if government intents to ease the congestion at the greater Johor Bahru, especially the congested causeway with few ten thousand commuters everyday.
However, it’s not a wise move if our own public transport service doesn’t provide seamless connection to commuter. The toll hike and new charge are forcing more people to either take motorcycles or leave to Singapore.
The more motorcyclists on the road, the more road fatalities would happen. If VEP or toll charge is implemented individually without providing commuting alternatives and upgrading public transport, we can foresee a surging number of motorcyclist and death tolls on road as casualties that took motorcycle were 3 times higher than other vehicles in Malaysia. As shown below:
Road Fatalities on road by category of vehicles (Johor)
The figures provided by related department in replying my question in February 2014 prove that irresponsible government and reckless policymaking would eventually cost lives.
While we don’t have seamless public bus connectivity from home to bus station and bus station to workplace, people are forced to dump the idea of taking public transportation.
Malaysian migrant workers in Singapore choose to drive because of low quality of our first-mile and last-mile public transport connection and high risk of taking motorcycle. Yet, BN government decided to charge all cars regardless their nationality and if they have used EDL at CIQ with a whopping 469% increase from RM 2.90 to RM 16.50, which is ridiculous and forcing people to take risk.
With greater Johor Bahru booming in the midst of Iskandar regional development, more and more people choose to live within and work cross-boundaries. We should try to make them constantly spending their income at the greater Johor Bahru and not driving them away.
BN government must improve our public transport before any toll hike or border charge is implemented. Only irresponsible government would punish people for driving own vehicles while public transport service can’t cope with the commuter’s need.
Wong Shu Qi