Thursday, June 19, 2014

It is deplorable for the Federal Government to sign concession agreements with Kidex as it is a betrayal to its own transformation programme – the GTP itself!

It does not augurs well for the Federal Government’s commitment in improving public transportation in Klang Valley if what the Federal Government interested in is only about cutting through the heart of our cities with more expensive elevated expressways.

Yesterday, the Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi has spoken that Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) is needed to compliment areas not served by trains.

He said that “these highways are also for areas where there is no rail connectivity, probably for the areas where at the moment do not have the access.”

Many residents of Petaling Jaya have doubt on his statement as it contradicts the commitment of the Federal Government to increase the usage of public transportation in Klang Valley.

Perhaps it is necessary for me to remind the Deputy Transport Minister that the Federal Government has launched a programme named Government Transformation Programmes with one of the seven National Key Results Area (NKRAs) is to improve urban public transport whereby this NKRA is put under the purview of the Ministry of Transport itself.

A quick check from Performance Management and Delivery Unit’s website reveal the following and I quote:
“Greater Kuala Lumpur’s population is expected to reach 10 million by 2020, comprising nearly a third of Malaysia’s current population. Moreover, the growing trend of private vehicle ownership will continue if there is no viable alternative, i.e. an efficient UPT, put in place.

- See more at: http://www.pemandu.gov.my/gtp/Improving_Urban_Public_Transport-@-GTP_2@0_Improving_Urban_Public_Transport.aspx#sthash.8NSsYWtL.dpuf”
This is the opening remark of the NKRA of improving urban public transport in which it underlines the strategy behind this NKRA, that the ownership of private vehicles will continue to grow if there is no viable alternative in place, ie en efficient Urban Public Transportation (UPT).

Therefore, it is totally mind-boggling if one were to compare this opening remark of the GTP with the statement from the Deputy Minister as the two are incompatible views. What is urgently lacking in our vehicle-choking cities in Klang Valley is more public transportations ONLY. In laymen terms, it means more buses, more rapid transits, higher frequency and better efficieny.

Highways and expressways are very much needed in linking up cities previously served by trunk roads. That is why the people of Selangor and Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives did not object when the Federal Government commenced and finished the construction of Kuala Lumpur – Kuala Selangor Highway (Latar) from 2008 to 2011. When the government announced its plan to construct West Coast Expressway from Taiping to Banting, it does not face much objections from the people of Selangor as we believe that the highway will relieve traffic congestion along Klang – Sabak Bernam Federal Road 5 while boasting tourism and economy activities along the coastal areas of Selangor.

However, the same cannot be said on Kidex and many other highways that are cutting through the hearts of major cities in Klang Valley. Constructing more highways will only translate into growing ownership of private vehicles and it defeats the noble purpose of the GTP to improve usage of public transportation.

It is deplorable for the Federal Government to sign concession agreements with Kidex as it is not only a betrayal to the people but also a betrayal to its own transformation programme – the GTP itself!

The Works Ministry under the Federal Government being a party of the signatory to the concession agreement has the moral obligation to the people in present the Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) report to the people. The TIA cannot be kept as an official secret document anymore.

I wonder if the right hand of the Federal Government (Works Ministry) knows what the left hand (Transport Ministry) is doing.

Lau Weng San
ADUN, Kampung Tunku.
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