Comments on RM60b economic stimulus package

The Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister introduced an economic stimulus package with a face value of RM60b yesterday in the Dewan Rakyat.

For full text, please see this link.
For commentary please see the fpllowing (weblinks included)

FOMCA
Muhammad Shaani said he was also disappointed that the budget did not address public transport.

“There should have been subsidies for diesel so that public transport fares can be reduced and this will put money into pockets of the lower income group,” he said.

Fomca president Datuk N.Marimuthu concurred that the public transportation should be improved.

Khoo Kay Peng
 it is unfortunate that the government does not touch on special allocation to improve public transport system e.g. public bus, LRT and taxis. These services should be expanded and improved. More than 50% of our petrol consumption is taken up by private vehicles. The consumption is not productive and wasteful. Instead, the government is providing subsidy of RM5,000 for the scrapping of cars more than 10 years old to Proton and Perodua buyers. While there is a need to support the local automobile industry, the assistance should be made broader to include public transport system

Anil Netto
There’s also going to be an increased government subsidy for Proton and Perodua. The government will part finance RM5,000 discounts given by the  national car-makers to those who replace their old cars (more than 10 years) with new Protons and Peroduas.  (An earlier announcement said the discount was only for those with cars older than 15 years. Car sales down, huh folks? Very generous of the government to use our money to help Proton/Perodua. Why not invest this public money in public transport?

Tony Pua
Just to add, despite obvious short and longer term benefits, there’s also no specific allocations for public transport infrastructure projects.

TRANSIT says:

The stimulus package may have RM60 billion in face value but unfortunately, little specific investment has been made for public transport within this budget. 

The government prefers to continue with the existing projects in the 9th Malaysia plan, namely the extensions of the Kelana Jaya and Ampang LRT lines and the creation of a new Kota Damansara-Cheras LRT/MRT line.

There are no announcements for immediate service improvements or immediate relief for public transport users and public transport operators – despite the traditional view that the users are in the lower income group and the operators are entrepreneurs (and in both cases would require subsidies).

The best thing that we can say is that some allocation has been given for covered walkways and bridges in the Golden Triangle (a la Hong Kong’s Central Business District).

TRANSIT calls for the following:

Short Term

  • Extension of passenger service (moving passengers and collecting revenues) from Kelana Jaya LRT station to the existing Lembah Subang depot.
  • Introduce better bus stops, bus lanes, bus bays, toilets, waiting areas and bus depots and maintain existing ones
  • Give bus operators financial incentives for meeting schedules

Fares

  • Eliminate the ‘pajak’ system and stop treating bus drivers as independent contractors
  • Allow a rise in bus fares to help operators meet their costs
  • Complement this with Transport Vouchers
  • Pay for discounts for urban/stage buses using toll highways (to be followed up with a “Bus-Tag” system – modelled after the Smart Tag)

Infrastructure, Service & Network

  • Investment in local public transport service by financing Local Shuttle Bus Services
  • Better investment in rapid-transit infrastructure including Busway-Rapid Transit (BRT) and Expressway-Rapid Transit (ERT) – a cheaper, faster alternative to LRT construction
  • Complete missing links in the public transport network by extending the Ampang LRT from Seri Petaling to Petaling Jaya and from Sentul Timur to Kepong and Wangsa Maju 
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