We’re already Malaysia’s public transport forum

TRANSIT took note of a very interesting article about the plan of the Land Public Transport Commission (Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat or SPAD) to create a Land Public Transport Forum.

The forum will discuss public transport issues

Forum to help public air views on SPAD (NST)
13 January 2012

By Nuradzimmah Daim
KUALA LUMPUR: A Land Public Transport Forum will be set up in March.

Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chief executive officer Mohd Nur Kamal said the forum would serve as a platform for the public to channel their views to the commission.

“Before it is set up, it is important to decide what form this forum will take, whether as an advisory panel, a society or a company.

[TRANSIT: And that is what we at TRANSIT have been talking about, for more than 3 years now.]

“It should involve a core group of people, who will run the forum, working with a bigger group, which will include members of residents’ associations,” he said during a roundtable discussion entitled Malaysian Public Transport Today and the Future recently. [TRANSIT: The forum happened on January 9th]

Commission chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, said the forum would serve as a platform for the public to air their views and suggestions to the commission.

He said the roundtable discussion, which was organised by Malaysian Institute of Public Transport (Mitrans) was held as provided by Section 168 and 169 of the Land Public Transport Act 2010. [TRANSIT: It’s actually the Malaysia Institute of Transport, not public transport]

“According to the Act, the commission is responsible to designate an independent organisation to be named the Land Public Transport Forum that should be open to all and has its own constitution which we are discussing today.

“It represents the interest of the public in respect to public transport including fares and will be able to give feedback and recommendations to us,” he said.

Among those present at the roundtable discussion were Road Safety Department former director-general Datuk Suret Singh; Damai Disabled Persons Association of Selangor and Federal Territory president V. Murugeswaran; Mitrans director Dr Intan Rohani Endut; New Straits Times’ Cars, Bikes &Trucks editor Yamin Vong and Blog House Malaysia president Syed Akbar Ali.

The Association for the Improvement of Mass-Transit (Transit) was also invited but none of its members were present.


TRANSIT Says:

TRANSIT is pleased to note that the Land Public Transport Forum, something that we have been calling for for some years, is in the process of being developed.

And yes, we were invited but we were not present at the event – mainly because we had no one available and because we are now focusing on reaching out to more people through our blog, commentary on online forums, and comments in the various media.

But really, we at TRANSIT have been present for a long time and we are still a presence when it comes to public transport.

But the public need to understand that participation in the Land Public Transport Forum which SPAD is going to create cannot be limited to the usual suspects – the business associations, residents associations, and groups of non-public transport users, all with their own axes to grind, chips on their shoulders. While many of these groups mean well and claim to speak on behalf of the public (usually the so-called “lower-income group”) they are usually not public transport users and cannot claim to have the knowledge, experience or expertise to speak for public transport users.

And most importantly, the Land Public Transport Forum cannot be a stage-managed attempt at “public consultation” in which the public are told what the government is going to do, given little opportunity for feedback, and generally not heard.

The members of TRANSIT fiercely wish to protect and preserve our independence, so that we can continue to speak and share the words and opinions of public transport users, raise awareness and educate all stakeholders.

SPAD is creating the Land Public Transport Forum, but TRANSIT is always, and will always be, Malaysia’s first public transport forum.

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5 thoughts on “We’re already Malaysia’s public transport forum”

  1. It’s true that this IS a public transport forum and it’s a place that many people, including the media, keep tabs on. Unfortunately, some people devalue the posts with often irrelevant comments that are no more than just anti-BN rants and accusations. This could have been THE public transport forum.

    1. @Mat Cendana

      Thanks for your response.

      We do regularly remind commentators and posters that TRANSIT is not a political organization and political comments do not lead to solutions. However, we also believe that everyone is entitled to their views, and we understand it is hard to separate public transport from government (since there are so many policy issues) and sometimes, it is hard to separate government from politics (especially in Malaysia).

      As it happens, the general tone of online comments in Malaysia often takes a political tone – but this is not something that is limited to Malaysia.

      The best way to move forward is two-fold. First, encourage more comments, and second, educate more people and raise more awareness to focus on the public transport and the policy and the planning and the improvements, rather than the political opinions.

      So please, be the change you want to see. Make those positive comments that you want to encourage, and please, tell your friends and please encourage them to join the forum and make those positive and effective comments that we need to have on this forum.

      We would like to be THE public transport forum for Malaysia, at the same level as blogs like Jarrett Walker’s Human Transit, Yonah Freemark’s The Transport Politic and Steve Munro’s blog. For that, we need the best commentators and the best support from our readers.

      1. TRANSIT itself has done well with its often quality and pertinent posts over the months that I have been subscribing to it, no question about that. And admittedly there are comments that are informative and add value to posts and this matter of public transportation.

        I guess readers will have to live with the signal to noise ratio since this is definitely a very important site which cannot be ignored and missed. Right now the extremely important MRT project is getting into gear – a lot aspects need to be looked into all the time.

        Then there’s that matter of KTM; of MMC having its eyes on it. Or is it on “KTM’s Land”?…which is way different from “KTM Train Operations”. We need to keep a watch on these – and more – to ensure real benefits to the greater good of people and the country.

  2. Yes, we agree that you are the form, but show us the form that we may register our membership. It is the nature of the Najib government to grab the billion dollar transport industry under its totalitarian regime and leave no chance for people’s participation, but I assure you, they will fail miserably.

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