30 days for CVLB to deliver – Nazri is in charge

TRANSIT also noted this article in the Malay Mail which gives details on who the CVLB will be reporting to in the Prime Minister’s Department – Nazri Abdul Aziz.

It appears that Nazri is wasting no time in requesting answers from the CVLB. When will he request the resignation of Markiman Kobiran, the hapless director of the CVLB?

30 days for CVLB to deliver

Nazri takes up task of revamping transport system

Darshini Kandasamy
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 11:26:00

THE controversial coupon taxi system will be reviewed. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz, who has been given the unenviable task of revamping the chronically ill commercial transport system, has already met with officials from the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) to discuss ways to do it.

He has also promised a bottomup review of the entire taxi system and has given CVLB 30 days to come up with solutions to the problem of errant taxi drivers. Also in Nazri’s to-do list is how to prevent express bus accidents from recurring.

The seriousness of the problem was underscored by a series of exposes carried out by Malay Mail in recent weeks into the weaknesses and abuses in the coupon taxi system and the express bus tragedy on April 13 near the Rawang toll plaza that claimed the lives of six people.

The probes uncovered a litany of abuses, from dearer-than-standard fares to different fares to the same destination – charged by the same company!

The revelations triggered a firestorm of public outcry. Many criticised the CVLB for being totally ineffective. Some had even called for the coupon system to be disbanded and the board to be overhauled. Speaking to Malay Mail yesterday, Nazri said he met with CVLB officials from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak on Monday.

One of the issues raised at the meeting was the coupon taxi system. Malay Mail also asked Nazri why CVLB had seemed reluctant to share with the paper a list of all the CVLB-approved coupon rates for all the zones. “Let me have a look at it (the coupon taxi system) first.

I have asked Datuk Markiman (Kobiran, CVLB’s chairman) to prepare a full report on the matter. I need to review the report first before I can decide whether the rates can be published or not,” said Nazri, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Law and Parliament affairs.

He added that the entire taxi system would be looked at and that the review would not be confined to just the coupon system.

However, Nazri carefully skirted the question when asked if CVLB would be replaced or revamped in light of mounting public dissatisfaction with the board in recent times, saying that the problem was not an easy one to solve.

Nazri had, on Monday, instructed CVLB to formulate short and long term solutions to two important issues – express bus accidents and errant taxi drivers.

“The reasons behind these accidents and the frequency with which they occur must be looked into, especially since we will soon enter the festive season when many will be travelling.

“I have given CVLB one month to prepare the report and come up with solutions. These two problems must be resolved quickly,” he said.

As to why CVLB was placed under the Prime Minister’s Department instead of the Transport Ministry, as many had initially expected, Nazri said this was to avoid any clashes among various government agencies and ministries.

Nazri said that when it came to hired vehicles, taxis and buses, there were many government agencies involved under various ministries, such as the Road Transport Department and the Transport Ministry.

In some instances, even the Federal Territories Ministry is involved.

“This way is easier. When a directive is issued from the PM’s Department, there is no confusion as to who has to take the lead.

”The formation of the National Land Transport Authority, also under the aegis of the PM’s Department, was another factor, Nazri said, as the functions of CVLB would probably be parked under it.

TRANSIT says:

There are some tender mercies that we can be happy about. Moaz from TRANSIT wrote a paper for the Ministry of Finance in 2008 in which he proposed that the new National Public Transport Authority be placed under the Prime Minister’s Department to ensure that things would be made to happen.

The announcement that Nazri will be taking charge of the CVLB is a step forward but from what TRANSIT has heard, Nazri is already well-connected to this issue.

Either way, we hope to see a realistic solution for these problems and soon.

It is however a disappointment that it is only the express bus services and taxis that seem to be getting the attention of the man-in-charge. Who will take responsibility for the chronic failures of the urban bus system? Who in the government is going to champion improvements to urban buses?

Meanwhile, for a look at another perspective on taxi service, see this article.

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