Free bus passes for poor pupils – a good social responsibility activity

TRANSIT took note of this very interesting article which describes the sponsoring of monthly bus passes for 53 students worth RM50 each, for the next six months.

The reason for the sponsorship of the passes is simple – a transportation subsidy might be used for other purposes, while bus passes can only be used for transport.

The bus passes were presented to the students at a ceremony with MIC and RapidKL present. MIC also called on the government to replace the transport subsidy with bus passes instead.

Free bus passes for 53 poor pupils (The Star)
23 April 2011
By PRIYA MENON

MIC president Datuk G. Palanivel has called on the Government to provide bus passes to poor children to replace the transport subsidy given out by the Welfare Department.

Palanivel said parents might use the cash aid to buy provision or other household items, forcing children to stay at home due to the lack of money for transportation.

“I suggest bus passes be given to the children so that there is no abuse,” he said during a ceremony organised by MIC Batu Youth to hand out bus passes to 53 schoolchildren from three schools in the Batu constituency.

Much needed help: The students showing their bus passes they received from the MIC Batu Division. Image courtesy of The Star.
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The bus passes were sponsored by Sonali Products Sdn Bhd and individuals. The initiative taken by the MIC Batu chairman Ramanathan Chinnu began when he learnt of the plight of schoolchildren who missed their lessons because they could not afford the bus fare.

[TRANSIT: We wish to express our sincere congratulations to the sponsors, and hope that more companies would come forward to express interest in similar sponsorship arrangements. We agree with the concept and believe that there are more opportunities for corporate social responsibility and activities to encourage public transport use through the Rapidpass.]

“The principal of SJK(T) Thamboosamy Pillai told me that poor children rarely make it to class. I then recruited my friends to sponsor the children and also approached Sonali,” he said.

Sonali chief executive officer Susma Suresh said she was glad Ramanathan approached them with this corporate social responsibility programme.

She added that this project was part of the many they had carried out in Penang and Seremban over the years.

“We have also decided to give out RM200 vouchers for groceries to the students if they excel in their studies,” she said.

The children were given a briefing on a RapidKL bus before the event began to familiarise them with the bus system.

Ratna Subramaniam, 11, from Desa Rejang in Setapak, said she was happy to receive the bus pass that would reduce her family burden.

“I take the van to school every day but it is expensive. Although I have to take two buses to school now, it will definitely make our lives easier,” said Ratna who is studying at SJK(T) Sentul.

Her friend from SJK(T) Thamboosamy Pillai, Sathish Raj, 12, said his parents were happy they could save the money for other necessities. Raj gets RM2 a day and 50sen is spent on travelling.

A single mother P. Kavitha, 29, said the extra incentive including the voucher would help her save the RM200 that could be used to buy books.

“The bus pass will ensure my child goes to school and gets the education he needs while the voucher will ease my financial strain,” she said.

Also present at the event was RapidKL chief operating officer Datuk Mohamed Hazlan Mohamed Hussain.

The concessioned bus pass costs RM50 and will be given to the children for the next six months.

TRANSIT Says:

We have to say that this is a great example of a positive initiative, and we would love to see more organizations getting together for such sponsorships. In addition, we agree with the idea that passes would be a better and more direct form of welfare (as compared to cash or subsidy which can be used in other ways). However, we also see the tax incentives from the government would encourage people and corporations to purchase public transport passes – either for themselves or as gifts or perqs for employees. This would create additional demand for public transport use.

Even more ideally, if we had one local public transport authority with one fare system, these bus passes could be used throughout the Klang Valley. As it stands now, passengers only have the opportunity to use RapidKL buses.

It should be clear to the government that the time has come to finally reform public transport in the Klang Valley area by setting up a single, local public transport authority to plan, organize & manage the bus service, as well as decide on things like bus passes, donations of bus passes, incentives for the purchase of bus passes, etc.

Bus operators should be providing a service on behalf of the local authority, not dealing with the other ‘behind the scenes’ details.

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7 thoughts on “Free bus passes for poor pupils – a good social responsibility activity”

  1. In countries like the UK, all passengers below the age of 16 do not need to pay to get on the bus.

    Why only are the giving it to certain poor students here in Malaysia?

  2. @only the poor?

    All Malaysia public transport companies of different transport mod share one same motto,”Profit is absolute paramount, wellbeing and welfare of rakyat (people)/passengers is just to meet the law requirements.” You never learn that aren’t you??

    1. Jeffrey

      We have seen examples of what you are referring to. However, we look beyond what we see and look towards what we want to see.

      In other words, we keep on pushing until we see the change we want to see.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  3. @Moaz Transitmy

    Hopefully, hopefully, one day we will see the change that we want to see. But I can tell you that day highly doubted will be within our lifespan.

  4. What a shame……….a bunch of lazy fellas………expect to sleep at home…..mark an X every 5 years and expect the Govt to take care of you

    The readers who post comments here represent these group of people. And they are merely the tip of the iceberg.

    It has been proven that Malaysians are one of the laziest creatures in this planet.

    Instead of learning how to fish, they expect to be given fish every day.

    People who get richer and richer did it by hard work and preseverence. Here our friends call it corruption and cronyism.

    Good luck and keep on dreaming. It is no surprise why most of you guys are getting poorer and poorer.

  5. @wrongdoings_rapidkl

    Then why are you getting poorer and poorer?? Anyway, hopefully one day I don’t have to see you holding an umbrella to shade your children just from where you park your car to the school gate under our schorching hot sun. Let your old mother/father and even your children walk in the scorching hot sun and thunder rain storm for minutes or even hours in the name of not being lazy, in the name of petrol saving, in the name of lessen government’s burden on public transport subsidy. Don’t let us caught you and your fmaily members go to a government clinic/hospital, visit Prince Court Hospital, Gleneagles or Damansara Specialist Centre for every little damned illness you have. Send your children to study in the best and the most fancy/expensive international school, no need to “waste” government’s/nation’s money. Let’s your children study in fancy colleges like Inti, Monash or Taylor’s, don’t waste nation’s money. Open house don’t go to Prime Minister or any government official open house, increase burden for the country’s coffer spending a lot of money on free food for the rakyat. Pay extra tax to this nation and don’t ask for a refund to help the needies in the country. Last of all, whenever government subsidised anything, you have to insist to pay full rate for the services/items/errands. Then I will say you are really not lazy.

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