Media Statement by Johor DAP Policy Director and Senai State Assemblyperson Wong Shu Qi on 8th February 2015 (Sunday):
Start from basic instead of taking up fancy mega projects to improve greater Johor Bahru public transport system
It is very confusing that Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Mayor of Johor Bahru Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohamed Dewam have both revealed very different visions of the public transport system for the city in just one week.
On February 1, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai told the public in a dinner held in Johor Bahru that the Ministry of Transport is now reviewing the proposal by Masteel and KUB on building a Light Rapid Transit system for Malaysia.
On the other hand, we also have our Johor Bahru mayor Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohamed Dewam who suggested installing a tram service within city centre.
These two systems do not contradict each other but rather it caters to different demands of commuting. However, we must not forget that we also have Rapid Transit bus and Komuter system in the Iskandar Malaysia Transportation Blueprint.
I totally agree with Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai’s statement that our rail infrastructure has yet to be fully utilized, hence we need more investments. We have more than 100 kilometres of existing railway track, which connects from the north of Iskandar Malaysia to the Johor Bahru city centre and also from the West to the East, connecting the two ports. However, all of it is currently underutilized.
To ensure that we fully utilize the potential of the rail service, Liow Tiong Lai must first help improve the management of KTMB. Since the Iskandar Malaysia Transportation Blueprint has already set a target to implement BRT and KTM, the Transport Minister should assist or even speed up the pace of the implementation. He should not take up more fancy mega projects that are mostly vendor-driven while the basic project is yet to be done.
Hence, Liow Tiong Lai should make sure that the Gemas-JB double-track project is to be done as fast as possible. Besides that, he should also talk to SPAD and other transportation department since the latter are the real masterminds in public transportation sector. We must not take up another fancy project just because the private sector wants to have another contract from government.
Public transport is a public domain and the government should not be letting the private sector to think on how to design a comprehensive public transport system. Start from basic instead of taking up fancy mega projects to improve greater Johor Bahru public transport system.
Wong Shu Qi