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10 TELLING IT AS IT IS theSun | TUESDAY MAY 19 2009

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Of mayors and presidents


LATELY, there was ning policies of the state As Kajang president Datuk
Overhaul public
transport system
THE bus system in most states is deplorable. Some of our
some interesting news planning committee Hasan Nawawi Abd Rahman found buses are way past their lifetime.
about mayors and chaired by the mentri out, some councillors have gone In Penang, non-roadworthy mini-buses and unidentifiable
presidents of local au- besar. to the press calling for his sacking stage buses (buses that have no operator) are seen on the
thorities. Unfortunately, this for not holding a “long-scheduled” roads. The buses are filthy and the drivers are not trained to
In Penang Island, is often not understood meeting with some residents. He be professionals. The safety and security features in the buses
municipal secretary by many quarters. also experienced having 16 out 19 are non-existent.
Tan Cheng Chui The power to appoint councillors walking out of a meet- The supporting infrastructure system is poor. Take a look
was appointed act- mayors or presidents ing when he denied them taking at our bus shelters. Connectivity is bad and most operators
ing president of the and councillors has led a vote. choose to serve only the “profitable” routes. Frequency is
municipal council to many state leaders to Such confrontational relation- terrible and the waiting time stretches one’s patience to the
replace Datuk Zainal LocalCounsel believe that they can ships with the councillors are limit.
Rahim Seman who is order their appointees injurious to good governance. RapidKL and Rapid Penang are a boon but limited to the
now the Penang state by Goh Ban Lee to do things, including In Selayang, president Datuk Klang Valley and Penang. Kuala Lumpur is also served by LRT,
secretary. This is the going against good Zainal Abidin Azim is in some Monorail and KTMB Komuter. What about the other states?
first time a tenure-track officer of governance, such as not taking trouble. He postponed a full coun- The irony is despite the many weaknesses in the public
the council has been appointed to action against illegal hawkers or cil meeting to make a trip to Kuala transport system we encourage people to use buses.
the pinnacle position. handing out licences and contracts Terengganu with some officers The poor taxi and limousine services continue to amuse
It is still not certain whether to unqualified persons. (The Star, May 6). Scheduled coun- Steel locals and tourists alike. The taxis in Penang are the worse of
Tan will be confirmed or if he Terence Fernandez’s article cil meetings should be postponed demand the lot where the meter ruling remains a farce. Half the drivers
wants to be. The job of a local (May 15) about the queues of only with very good reasons. lack manners and present a poor image. Undeniably, there is
authority head honcho is the most people with “support letters” out- But for him to take a trip spon- likely to
very poor enforcement.
difficult in the country, consider- side Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk sored by the parking concession- improve The background of tour and express drivers is not properly
ing the responsibilities and the Ahmad Fuad Ismail’s office proves aire is clearly unethical even if it in H2 screened and a number have warrants of arrest and sum-
environment he has to work in. the point. was to discuss parking matters. monses in their name. Working hours of drivers are not properly
In Ipoh, Datuk Roshidi Hashim State or federal leaders must The 144 mayors and presidents pg 16
regulated resulting in many fatal accidents linked to fatigued
was sworn in for a second term as not ask mayors and presidents should be appreciative of their and tired drivers. The ticketing system is equally bad with many
the mayor. It was commendable of to do anything that is antithesis posts. They are probably the only “touts” continuing to fleece members of the public.
him to clearly state that he served to good governance. If municipal group of government servants Many tour and express buses have no proper safety and
everyone. “They are all our tax- leaders can bend or break the law who are heads of government, security features and come with curtains despite a ruling that
payers and we want to serve them to help the state or federal leaders, albeit the third tier, in democratic all glass panels must not be covered. These buses have no
without consideration of what it is very easy to do the same to countries. proper designated parking sites unlike public bus depots and
their race is or what religion they please themselves. They are often criticised, it is common to see these vehicles parked by the roadside in
practise or what their political af- Unlike heads of federal gov- sometimes unfairly. But the prime housing estates.
filiations are” (The Star, May 15). ernment and state governments minister and mentris besar or Factory and school buses are as bad as express buses.
But his pledge “to serve the who appoint the cabinet minis- chief ministers have to beg the Lorries are just as bad or worse. Most of these heavy
government of the day” was mis- ters and state executive council people for votes periodically and vehicles have no proper safety and security features. Lorry
placed although it may be a clever members respectively, mayors are scolded and jeered at. drivers are experienced but lack the necessary training and
thing to say in an environment and presidents have to work with The criticisms come with the re-training courses. Many are seen driving seated on makeshift
where the state government was 24 councillors not of their own job. They should be thankful that seats, without safety precautions. It is common to see them
and still is uncertain. choices. Their relationships with they are given the opportunity to unloading during the rush hour further slowing down traffic.
Roshidi’s job is not to serve the the councillors are not hierarchi- improve the quality of life of mil- Vans and other commercial vehicles are not properly regu-
state government. He is the head cal and as such cannot direct them lions of Malaysians. This alone lated. Some have their brand wrapped around the vehicles,
of a government, which is the Ipoh to do anything they do not want. should make them strive as if some are air-brushed and some have installed gimmicks. A
City Council. He is not the head of Generally, councillors want to there is no tomorrow. good number are not roadworthy and have been modified
a department of the state govern- work closely with their mayors or beyond recognition. Van drivers often lack knowledge of traffic
ment. presidents, knowing full well that laws.
The laws only require that they can be more effective this Goh Ban Lee is a retired academic The government must act immediately to stop the rot and
he and the council abide by the way. But there are those who can interested in urban governance, overhaul the public transport system. It must start with the
general policies laid down by the be difficult and are willing to show housing and urban planning. Com- Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB).
state government and the plan- the world their feelings. ments: letters@thesundaily.com. A good public transport system should be spearheaded
by an effective public transport council. All developed nations
start their long journey of development by first investing heav-
ily in a good public transport system.

Spoilt new kids on the block PT System


Penang

WHEN the new administra-


tion kicked into gear a month
administration, there will
be changes made down the
ers in the first place.
These consultants too have suspect
Longer wait for train
after coming into power,
complaints started surfac-
pecking order. But how are
these changes made? Are
qualifications and further digging, in-
cluding a RM15 online search on the
to Batang Kali
ing of little, and even big, those who come in with the Companies Commission of Malaysia’s I REFER to “KTMB doing the best it can” (Letters, May 18).
Napoleons throwing their new order there on merit or website, will reveal the links of these Yes, people are amused seeing these trains hitched up behind
weight around. This did not because they happened to characters to those who had embedded a diesel locomotive. But this is nothing new, its been going on
only extend to ordering loyal massage or scratch the right themselves in the administration. since last year.
and competent government backs? At a time when the new prime These diesel trains were used to service the Rawang-Kuala
servants around. Some of Worse, are they there minister is trying to win the hearts Kubu Baru route, but are now used on the main commuter
these party stringers and for their own gains or to and minds of the people in the delivery routes. Though these trains were slow, until late last year they
hangers-on had not set foot genuinely help their political system, these people are not doing him ferried us to Batang Kali at half hour intervals.
Down2Earth We, the commuters travelling from Rawang to Kuala Kubu
into the hallowed grounds masters keep to their elec- any favours with their own agenda of
of Putrajaya but like an un- by Terence Fernandez tion promises to serve the enriching themselves and their friends. Baru are suffering. We now have to wait one hour for our train
ruly kid in Disneyland were rakyat? The rot will not end if some serious back home. Most of the time we have to wait at the station,
already running through the hallways I have come across many officers house-cleaning is not done by those not knowing when the next train will arrive. Most of the time no
creating havoc at every corner. who do nothing other than embarrass at the top. Many of our ministers and announcements are made. A few times, I had to knock on the
With their own masters attaining their bosses. They do not fall under the deputy ministers are not aware of what office door to enquire about the next train to Batang Kali. And
ministerial or deputy ministers’ posi- government scale, so their salaries are is happening within their own organisa- the answer was “satu jam satu lah. Train tak cukup.”
tions, they felt that they had “arrived” paid by some supporter who runs a legal tions as they are kept out of the loop by Johari, a KTMB officer at level 4, KL Sentral, replied to my
and were not above making demands firm or a college. certain civil servants who are comfort- query: “Train tak cukup.”
ranging from dishing out contracts to At least this is better than a former able with the old way of doing things as Where is the money from the daily collection going to. Don’t
friends and relatives, demanding of- minister who defied the Public Services well as the very personnel whom they tell me it’s not enough to cover the cost. Trains are always
fice space to getting rid of loyal staff by Department regulations and overstaffed brought along to assist them in their packed to the brink.
putting in their own people who know her office with a posse of bag carriers duties. KTMB is badly in need of funds to upgrade its fleet. The old
little regarding the ministry or the work who were paid by a ministry subsidi- It is imperative that our YBs in trains have to make way for new ones. Staffing must also be
at hand. ary. government take a long hard look at reviewed. Take a look at Rawang station, so many of its staff
Lately, new faces at certain ministries Their work is to walk next to their the people whom they have trusted are idling away. Buck up KTMB, look at Japan and Singapore.
have started defiling the Najib adminis- bosses looking important and not having enough to bring into their inner sanctum A month ago a cable broke at the Batang Kali station. There
tration with at least one demand made a clue as to the issues at hand – respond- because as far as previous and current were about ten workers on the job. Two of them were on top of
for a contract to replace sports equipment ing with blank looks when a minister observations go, they could very well be their wagon tending to the cables while the rest were standing
at a government-run sports complex. looks towards them for assistance when the “musuh dalam selimut” who will and watching. Why the need for so many hands?
It has also come to my attention that faced with a question from the media, cause their downfall. Also, the new Q-system at KL Sentral is not working. Com-
several local authorities are faced with for instance – which brings us to the muters dutifully line up in their respective lanes but once a
the dilemma of fast-tracking “propos- booming consultation industry. train arrives, they break ranks and rush to get in.
als” such as budget hotels by relatives of Taxpayers are being doubled-billed Terence has met enough media and spe- For how long does this have to go on. People are suffering.
those in the administration. Of course, for PR jobs – paying the salaries of gov- cial officers to know that not all of them Investment from the government is badly needed.
as far as we know, this wheeling and ernment public relations or corporate are there to serve the rakyat. He is deputy
dealing was done behind the backs of communications officers and settling the editor (special reports & investigations) at Jas
those in the cabinet. hefty bills of consultants who are hired theSun and can be reached at terence@ Batang Kali
It is inevitable that with every new to do the jobs of these government offic- thesundaily.com

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