Tuesday, December 9, 2014



1.1. On 9 June 2014, the Johor Housing and Real Property Enactment Board Bill 2014 (“the Enactment”) was passed by the Johor State Legislative Assembly albeit the controversy surrounding the Enactment which the critics alleged empowering His Highness the Sultan of Johor with the executive authority in state administration. Whether or not there is any legal basis to this allegation however, is not the scope of this article. But this controversy in the writer’s view, provides an opportune time to refresh our memory and briefly remind us the system that modern Malaysia subscribes to since achieving her independence from the British in 1957 and the position of Their Highness the Malay Rulers under the present constitutional arrangements enshrined in the Federal Constitution.


2.1. Malaysia subscribes to ‘Parliamentary Democracy’ with ‘Constitutional Monarchy’ founded on the principle of ‘Federalism’. This system is premised upon certain principles based on English constitutional conventions. Parliamentary Democracy dictates that a political party with the greatest representation in Parliament will form the government. This principle of Parliamentary Democracy coupled with the principle of Constitutional Monarchy where a monarch rules in accordance within an agreed parameters, in our case, the Federal Constitution makes the Malaysia that we know what it is today. Professor Abdul Rashid Moten, in Society, Politics & Islam: An Overview aptly describes this position when he wrote, “Malaysia operates a Parliamentary system in which the government is carried on in the name of the Head of the State, Yang Di Pertuan Agong by ministers who enjoy the confidence of the majority in Parliament and are responsible to Parliament for their public acts both individually and collectively”. 

2.2 Constitutional Monarchy differs from ‘Absolute Monarchy’ as there is no absolute powers of a monarch in countries which adopts constitutional monarchy. A monarch in most constitutional monarchies possesses limited and restrictive powers which usually is limited to ceremonial duties or certain other reserved powers depending on, written or unwritten, constitutional arrangements of that particular country. In our country, His Majesty the Yang Di Pertuan Agong derives his powers as conferred by Parliament under Federal laws as provided in the Federal Constitution (see, Professor Abdul Rashid Moten, in Society, Politics & Islam: An Overview). In most cases, His Majesty acts on advice by the Prime Minister whom he is obliged to appoint from a member of Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the House. 

Malaysia has nine Malay Rulers, each one of them acts as the Head of State and the Head of the Religion of Islam in their respective states whilst the Supreme Head of the Federation is His Majesty the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong who is selected amongst the nine Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers on rotation basis selected every five years by the Conference of Rulers. The four Yang Di Pertuan Negeri are in the Non Ruler States due to the political and historical evolution of those states namely, Melaka, Pulau Pinang, Sabah & Sarawak. This system is unique to Malaysia and the only one of its kind in the world.

2.3 Federalism on the other hand has its roots from Latin word ‘foedus’ which means “a formal agreement or covenant”. Federalism is not a concept unique to our country alone. Many great nations in the world including the United States, the Russian Federation, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, India, Australia to name a few, practise Federalism, although the model may differ to accommodate local environment of each particular country. The Free Legal Dictionary defines ‘Federalism’ as “a principle of government that defines the relationship between the central government at the national level and its constituent units at regional, state, or local levels. Under this principle of government, power and authority is allocated between the national and local government units, such that each unit is delegated a sphere of power and authority only it can exercise, while other powers must be shared..… It includes the interrelationship between the states as well as between the states and the federal government”. 

In the context of Malaysia, which adopts a federal constitutional monarchy system, the Prime Minister is the Head of Government at the federal level, with His Majesty the Yang Di Pertuan Agong as the Head of State at the federal level whilst Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers of the various states are the Heads of State at the respective states level, with the Menteri Besar or the Chief Minister, as the case may be, acting as the Head of Government at the respective states level. In sum, it can be said that Federalism is a system of government in which sovereignty is shared between the federal authority and its constituent political units i.e. the state governments.


3.1 Its Origin in Malaysia - The backdrop that underscores Malaysia’s federalism is intertwined with its history. This should be stated from the beginning in order to better appreciate the constitutional framework and system of government of the country. What is obvious is that the constitutional framework of the federal system of the government of Malaysia has to take into account its historical evolution. Historically, the FMS (Federated Malay States), which marked the beginning of a modem centralized administrative organisation in the Peninsula, was a device for the British to consolidate their powers. It also reduced the autonomy of the member states and made state bureaucracy subordinate to federal authority. After the Second World War, the British government decided to strengthen their role and control over the Malay states by introducing the unitary Malayan Union. This had to be abandoned because it failed to recognise and protect the rights of the Malays as the indigenous people of the country, and infringed on the sovereignty of Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers and was strongly boycotted and protested by the Malays. In lieu of this, the Federation of Malaya Agreement restored the nation, the Malays and the Malay Rulers at federal and state levels.

One of our greatest and respected jurists and a former Lord President the late Tun Suffian wrote in his classic work, “An introduction to the Constitution of Malaya” that the ‘machinery devised’ to bring the newly drafted Federal Constitution into force consisted of three component parts – a law passed in UK, an agreement between the British Monarch and our Rulers, and a series of laws passed in this country (see Chapter 4, In Service of the Law, Tun Suffian’s Legacy by Professor Salleh Buang). The law passed in the United Kingdom was known as the Federation of Malaya Independence Act, whilst the agreement signed was known as the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1957. The laws passed in this country were a combination of federal law and state laws. The former was the Federal Constitution Ordinance 1957, whilst the latter comprised of state enactments passed to approve and give force to the Federal Constitution (see Chapter 4, In Service of the Law, Tun Suffian’s Legacy by Professor Salleh Buang). 

Whilst it cannot be denied that one of the main reasons behind the adoption of the federal system in 1957 is to protect to a certain extent the position of Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers, the adoption of the federal system also meant that Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers would have to exercise their powers in accordance with the Federal and State Constitutions, in the context of constitutional monarchy as stated earlier. This is significant as the country’s progresses and evolves into a modern democratic constitutional monarchy system. Without proper understanding the constraint and limits, there may come a time, where there will be collision between the State Ruler and the elected government. 

3.2 The Kelantan Case - The federal system established in 1957 as the federation of Malaya Constitution was meant to establish a strong federal government. In 1963, in the course of enlargement of the Federation, just before the formation and declaration of Malaysia, the very first constitutional crisis post-independence had occurred when the Government of the State of Kelantan objected to the Malaysia Act which purported to amend the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957 in order to admit Sarawak, North Borneo and Singapore into the Federation. This case laid down the cardinal principles regarding the constitutional position of Federalism in Malaysia. As Hugh Hickling memorably put it, ‘it was left to the David of Kelantan to challenge the Goliath of the Federation’. In this case, the Kelantan government put forward five points-

  • The Malaysia Act would violate the Federation of Malaya agreement by abolishing the Federation of Malaya;
  • The proposed changes needed the consent of each of the constituent state including Kelantan and this has not been obtained;
  • The Sultan of Kelantan should have been made a party in the Malaysia Agreement;
  • Constitutional convention dictated that consultation with the Rulers of the individual states is required before substantial changes could be made to the constitution;
  • The federal government had no power to legislate for Kelantan in matters that the state could legislate on its own. 
(see Johan Shamsuddin Sabaruddin, in Kelantan Challenge Charts Federalism Path published in NST on 21st July 2007) 

These points in the writer’s views were very important constitutional questions which should have been answered individually. Unfortunately, without going into each issue in specific details, Chief Justice James Thomson chose to consolidate these five issues by framing them into one question – ‘whether the Parliament or the executive government has trespassed in any way the limits placed on their powers by the Constitution’. This may have been due to the time constraints as it was reported that he had delivered his decision 30 hours before Malaysia was to be declared saying, “Never I think has a judge had to pronounce on an issue of such magnitude on so little notice and with so little time for consideration”.

Although, these 5 questions were not answered individually, the judgment was nevertheless a very important judicial pronouncement on Federalism. Chief Justice Thomson held amongst others that ‘even if Kelantan was a sovereign state in 1957, the effect of the Federation of Malaya Agreement, was that a large proportion of the power that made up that sovereignty had passed from the Kelantan government to that of the Federation’. The Court also held ‘that the Malaysia Agreement was validly signed by the Federal Government in exercise of its executive powers and the exercise of these executive powers did not require consultation with any state government or the Ruler of any State’. 

Consequently, based on these judicial pronouncements , the path of modern Federalism in Malaysia has been laid out.

3.3 The Malay Rulers in the practice of modern federalism in Constitutional Monarchy – The Federal Consitution recognised the role of their Highnesses the Malay Rulers and conferred upon them with traditional and religious powers and position. His Majesty the Yang Di Pertuan Agong is the Head of the Federation and acts as Supreme Head, Supreme Ruler or Paramount Ruler. As stated earlier, His Majesty the Yang Di Pertuan Agong, however is a Constitutional Monarch who does not have absolute powers except for powers specifically conferred by Parliament under federal laws. In most instances, His Majesty acts on advice of the Prime Minister. 

Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers also constitute part of a state government because they are the Head of State and the Head of the religion of Islam in their respective states in accordance with the Federal Constitution and their respective states constitutions. The states exist in order to maintain the position and prerogative of Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers as Head of State, and the religion of Islam is under state jurisdiction due to the traditional position and religious power of Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers as the Head of the religion of Islam. Accordingly, the Federal Constitution does not only guarantee the power and sovereignty of Their Highness the Malay Rulers as the Head of State but it also safeguards the power and prerogative of Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers as Head of the religion of Islam. The states and the Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers co-exist. Hence Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers, in protecting their status, position and power, indirectly defend the rights and autonomy of the states. Any changes or measures taken to change, which are prejudicial to the position and power of Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers can be detrimental to the states and thus to federalism as practised in Malaysia. How this in practice should be interpreted in the context of the position and status of a constitutional monarch is a subject that will continue to be debated especially in matters relates to the religion of Islam where it is jealously guarded by Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers and in matters of state administration where Their Highnesses may be required to exercise and perform their functions, which some may see as interference in executive machinery. It is submitted, any traditional prerogative or powers of a monarch must be construed in accordance with the Federal Constitution and their respective states constitutions and accepted practice of modern federalism .

3.4 Legislative Power Structure Between the Federation and State Governments - The divisions of legislative powers between the Federal Government and state governments are spelt out in the Federal Constitution to avoid disputes or conflicts between the Federal and State governments. The Federal Constitution has outlined under the Ninth Schedule, the division of these powers between the federal and state governments (Articles74,77). The Federal list for example, includes, external relations, defense, internal security, civil and criminal law, federal citizenship and naturalisation, financial, trade and industry and education whilst state list includes Islamic law, land, agricultural and forestry, local government, local services and state government machinery. This has allowed, firstly, unity in diversity and secondly, the decentralized institutional system of government. Fundamentally, this also means that some components or constituent units have some exclusive jurisdiction or competence over the other. In addition to these lists, there are also powers that are concurrent between the federal and state governments which are listed in the Federal Constitution as Concurrent List which includes public welfare, scholarships, national parks, wildlife and drainage and irrigation. 

It should also be noted that the states with Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers as the Head of State have exclusive jurisdiction over Islamic religion, land, water and mineral resources and local government whilst the states that do not have Malay Rulers (Non Ruler States) they share the same powers except on religion with the state that has Rulers. In the Non Ruler States, religion comes under His Majesty Yang Di Pertuan Agong. 

Generally, although there have been instances where the Federal and State governments have faced problems or difficulties due to the differences in the interpretation or construction of the words or phrases in the provisions in the Constitution, this division of powers in the Federal Constitution has allowed for an orderly and stable administration of the government at the Federal and state levels. For example, in order to avoid conflicts and ensure the smooth functioning of the federal system, the country has various coordination mechanisms such as The National Land Council, whose membership consist of the PM, the MB’s and CM’s, but these powers are only limited to advisory. It is up to the state to accept or reject such advice. The same goes to the National Water Resources Council and National Council for Local Government. 

Wong Chin Huat, writing in The Sun on 25th July 2007, however was of the view that the federalism system as practised in Malaysia is highly centralised. He said, “After all, in Federalism, sovereignty and power are shared between national and sub-national entities. Such vertical divisions of power between the governments at different levels provide for check-and-balance, just like the horizontal separation of power between the three branches of government: legislative, executive and judiciary. Federalism gives the federal government not only the most legislative and executive powers but also the most important sources of revenue. State governments are excluded from the revenues of income tax, export, import and excise duties, and they are also largely restricted from borrowing internationally. They have to depend on revenue from forests, lands, mines, the entertainment industry, and finally, transfer payments from the central government.” 

It may appear that notwithstanding the explicit provision of the Federal Constitution, Malaysia in practice adopts a unitary system - ‘a system of political organization in which most or all of the governing power resides in a centralized government’ (Encyclopaedia Britannica). Prior to the outcome of GE 12 and GE13, it may have appeared this way due to the fact that the same political party was in power in most states. When the same party governs the federal and state governments they naturally possess shared values and visions in political philosophy and ideology. Under the circumstances, their actions at both the Federal Government and State Governments level tended to be well coordinated and similar. Hence, their actions are seen to complement each other and thus may have appeared ‘centralised’. 

Post GE12 and GE13, this smooth cooperation and collaboration has somewhat changed with different political parties in power at the Federal level and some states and thus putting the Federal system into the real litmus test. It can be said that the coordination that once existed has become more complex and difficult, and at times unpredictable. An example of this can be seen in the case of Sg. Langat water treatment plant, the proposed water transfer between Pahang and Selangor, and even the AES. 


4.1 In conclusion, there is no doubt that Malaysia, de-facto and de-jure, adopts a federal system. As a young nation, however, it is to be expected, the provisions of the Federal Constitution to be subjected to differing and sometimes conflicting interpretations and have at times brought constitutional collision in respect of the powers and prerogatives of Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers, especially on the question of how a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy should work and function within the context of Malaysia’s federalism. The reason for the varying interpretations may be due to lack of understanding and an agreeable concept of prerogatives under the Malaysian constitutional laws and more so at the socio/political level. Additionally, there is a lack of legal writings that comprehensively deal with the concept of royal prerogative although this is only one aspect of federalism.

The democratic principles incorporated by the Constitution were relatively new to Malaysia, which used to be a feudal society under autocratic and later colonial rule. The preservation of some traditional aspects of society was due not only to their intrinsic value, but also more importantly due to the influence and authority of the Rulers and the need for the Malays to maintain their legal and political positions as the indigenous inhabitants of the country. The incorporation of these traditional elements resulted from political compromises with other ethnic groups. This fabric of society was the basis upon which the nation was construed. In return, the non-Malays were granted full citizenship and equal political rights.

Federalism, which underpins unity in diversity, appears to provide the most appropriate system to accommodate the retention of the special position of the Malays and the sovereignty of Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers, while the geographical and demographic factors only play a subsidiary role. The reason for the enlargement of the Federation in 1963 is quite similar to those of other federations. The most important reason for the establishment of federalism in 1963 was security. Economic and administrative factors also became the contributing factors for the new member states to federate (Khairil Azmin Mukhtar, Federalism in Malaysia. A constitutional study of the federal institutions, 2002). 

What is clear is that Federalism in Malaysia has evolved. As Muhammad Yusuf Saleem wrote in his Federalism Origin and Applications, “ Federalism in Malaysia is result of an evolutionary process. The history of Federalism demonstrates the struggle between the Forces of centralisation who favoured a strong centre and the forces of decentralisation who wanted to maintain the power of sultanates and the individuality of the states. It was this struggle that shaped the federal idea in Malaysia” 

This federal structure, like a traditional marriage, has stood the test of time. Just as how the effectiveness of a marriage depends on there being a shared vision, the effectiveness of the Federal structure depends very much on shared vision at both Federal and State levels. With shared vision, you don’t even need to have coordinating mechanisms. In the absence of shared vision, the effectiveness of formal coordinating mechanisms is questionable. In fact, in extreme cases where each partner has diametrically opposite visions, it can even lead to divorce as happened between Malaysia and Singapore.



Let me first of all thank ASLI for taking the initiative to organize this conference on Urban Transportation. In my opinion ASLI’s timing could not be better. The Government is currently in the midst of preparing for the 11th Malaysia Plan and Urban Public Transport is a key focus area of the Government. Hence the ideas generated in this year’s Urban Transportation Forum could be used to inform policy-makers as they decide on the new strategies, programmes for urban transport in general and public transport in particular. The two are of course not synonymous as urban transport includes road infrastructure which is of course outside the jurisdiction of SPAD. Our mandate is restricted to trains, buses and taxis. 


Before I explain SPAD’’s roll-out plans for public transport, I would like to do a little-stocktaking exercise. The main Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for urban public transport is the modal share of public transport. The target is 40% by the year 2030. Where are we now? This varies by region. In the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley region, the picture is encouraging. The public transport modal share increased from 16.9% in 2010 to 19.6% in 2012 to 20.8% in 2013. Considering that the travelling base is also increasing, this is indeed a commendable achievement.

The main contributor to this good performance is the existence of the urban rail system and it shows that the Government’s heavy investment in urban rail in this region is paying economic dividends. Although the urban rail network covers a limited area of the region, 2013 statistics show that it carries 600,000 passengers per day. In the morning peak period, rail carries 49% of the total public transport load. 

We frequently hear well-meaning but ill-informed criticism that the modal share would be higher if only the Government did not expect public transport passengers to bear the full-cost of their journeys. This is really not true. I would like to point out a little known fact – namely that the Government is heavily subsidising passengers using rail public transport in the GKL/KV region. SPAD did an analysis in 2013 comparing the fare collection and the operating cost using 2012 figures. In the case of the LRT lines, fare revenue covers only 55% of the operating cost and the remaining 45% is implicitly subsidised by the Government. In the case of monorail passengers, the implicit Government subsidy is 30% while in the case of KTMB Komuter services, the implicit Government subsidy is a whopping 75%. 

Outside the Klang Valley, the only mode of scheduled public transport is the humble stage bus. SPAD analysis shows that in the 13 state capitals combined, the daily bus ridership is 245,000 and it is our estimate that with this ridership, the modal share of public transport in the state capitals is about 5%. The stage bus industry has been facing several structural problems which threaten its viability as a key component of the overall public transport system. 

It currently relies on the fare box revenue model whereby operating costs and investment returns are meant to be covered from passenger fares. However, this model has failed to provide public transport service which is a viable alternative to private cars. Route expansion did not keep pace with the increase in urbanization resulting in the stage bus network serve an increasingly smaller proportion of the urban area. Increasing affluence resulted in high rates of private vehicle ownership and taking into account the relatively lesser coverage of public transport resulted in greater use of private vehicles and lesser usage of stage buses. 

Bus operators reacted by cutting unprofitable routes, or reducing frequencies along routes, the net effect being further reduction in service followed by further reduction in patronage, putting the industry in a classic case of a vicious downward spiral. The increasing marginalization of public transport meant that local authorities are extremely reluctant to even consider, let alone take, measures that can assist public transport such as parking restrictions or bus priority in traffic. This further reduces the attractiveness of public transport. Local authorities frequently state that they cannot take traffic management measures until public transport becomes a viable alternative creating a chicken-or-egg situation. 

The Government attempted to address the problems of the industry by setting up the Interim Stage Bus Support Fund (ISBSF) in 2011 with an allocation of RM400 million. While ISBSF has helped to arrest the trend of route closures, it has not helped to make public transport a viable alternative to private transport. The fund is used to support stage bus operators meet their operating costs so as to arrest further route closures while a permanent solution is formulated. he lack of a transformative impact from ISBSF is therefore to be expected because as the name suggests, this is meant to be only an interim solution. Nationwide i.e. considering intra-urban, inter-urban and rural areas, in 2013 a total of 900,000 passengers daily have benefited from the Government’s ISBSF subsidy. 


(i) General
I am sure there are some among you who are thinking – this is all very well. We all know the problems of urban public transport. In every conference and every seminar that we attend, we hear beautiful analysis of the problems. What we want to know is what is the Government going to do about it? What is SPAD as the planning and regulatory agency going to do about it? And let me tell you, I agree with you. You are right to think that. So let me share some things that SPAD is doing to rectify the problems that the urban public transport sector faces. 

(ii) Rail
First the rail sector. One major need is to expand the urban rail network. It is simply too limited at the moment. However I will not dwell too much on the infrastructure improvements that the Government is doing in the Klang Valley. We all know about the MRT1 and MRT2, the LRT extensions and the new LRT line from Bandar Utama to Klang that was announced in the budget speech. One thing that I would like to mention though is that in the coming 11th Plan i.e. for the period 2016 0- 2020 there will be a need to consider urban rail systems in other large towns in the country. 

But for today, I would instead like to point out the service improvements that have taken place. In May 2013, the punctuality of KTMB Komuter trains was only 89%. This means that only 89% of the trains arrived within the stipulated window of their scheduled arrival time at a station. Now i.e. in September 2013 it is 97%. The track conditions remained the same, the number of rolling stock remained the same. How did this improvement come about? It came about because we in SPAD monitored train performance so that we have solid data on performance, It came about because KTMB was open and receptive to SPAD’s advice, monitoring and suggestions to making changes in how they deploy the rolling stock to minimize late arrivals. Once we pointed the facts out to them, agreement on corrective measures was easy. So quietly, we in SPAD and KTMB did what we need to do and improved the punctuality of KTMB services. The results are there in increased ridership. In 2013, the average daily ridership on KTMB Komuter was 120,000. In the month of September 2014, the average daily ridership was 130,000 i.e. an 8% increase. 

I am not suggesting that the gain of 8% is solely due to improved punctuality. But I am sure that it is one of the factors. We are continuing our efforts at achieving performance improvements through monitoring. For example, currently the stipulated gap to measure on-time arrival for all the urban rail systems is 10 minutes. I feel that this is too long a gap. Hence I have instructed SPAD staff to work with urban rail management to come up with a tighter stipulated time to measure punctuality. In this way, we will be able to offer better services to the public. 

We have also behind the scene worked on enhancing safety standards. We have just embarked on developing common railway safety standards for operations and maintenance. This initiative will be completed by September 2015. I don’t mean to imply that currently there are no safety standards. Of course there are. But this is because each operator has its own standards and safety policies, there are no common safety work practices. Hence we have seen accidents which fortunately have not involved passengers but railway staff have become casualties. I believe in being pro-active when it comes to safety. With the establishment of common standards, SPAD will be pro-active in enhancing safety

(iii) Stage buses
Now let me turn to our transformation roll-out plans for stage buses. SPAD has developed the Stage Bus Services Transformation programme to directly address the root problems facing this sector. This programme was also announced in the Budget Speech but not being as glamorous as MRT, did not receive much publicity in the newspapers. Under this programme, the business model for stage bus industry will be transformed from the operators being dependent on fare box collections to a gross-cost service delivery contract model where the Government will contract with the operator to provide a set quantity of service and will be paid a specified rate for it . In brief, under this model, SPAD as the planning and regulatory authority will plan and monitor the routes, frequencies, hours of service, vehicle specifications and operator performance while the stage bus operator will run the service according to these parameters. 

As announced in the Budget Speech, this scheme will first be rolled out in 5 state capitals i.e. Kuching, Kangar, Seremban, Ipoh and Kuala Terengganu. I expect the first contracts to be signed by the end of this year and the buses under this new scheme will start to be operational service in the initial area will be on the road by end of March 2015. 

(iv) Feeder Services
Now, let me turn to an area which is an intersection between urban buses and urban rail namely feeder buses. An SPAD survey done in November 2013 showed that the door-to-door journey time by urban rail is significantly longer i.e. 1.76 times more than for private cars. This situation does not encourage private vehicle owners to shift to public transport. This longer total journey time arises despite the fact that the on-board travelling time for urban rail is shorter than the in-vehicle travelling time by car. The survey found that generally, morning peak users walk from the rail station to their destination. So the last-mile is not the main problem contributing to the long journey times. The main factor contributing to the long journey times is the time taken to travel from home to the rail station. 

When we analysed feeder bus service performance, we find several weaknesses. In many cases, prospective passengers have to wait a long time for feeder buses to arrive. Also when the buses do arrive, the route length can be long and meandering. All this adds to the total journey time faced by passengers who depend on feeder buses to take rail. This shows that the number of buses operating on these feeder routes is lower than optimum. Similarly the long route distances are because the operator tries to cover as much of the catchment area in the single route. This problem arises from the housing land use pattern in Malaysia where the norm for housing estates is link or terrace houses spread out for a relatively large area rather than high-density condominium or dense housing. 

I can sympathise with feeder bus operators. Running feeder services is inherently loss-making. This is especially so if we use conventional buses as they are capital-intensive. Hence it is understandable and indeed rational from the operator’s point of view to cover as much of the residential catchment area in a single route with a limited number of buses. But the end result is not at all rational from the passenegr’s viewpoint i.e. long waiting and travelling times for d=feeder services. 

I believe that we need to be more innovative in our thinking in providing high quality feeder service. Is conventional bus the only solution? Why can’t we supplement conventional buses with lower-cost environmentally-friendly vehicle which are less capital-intensive? Then we can provide feeder service at more frequent intervals and with more direct routes. To this end, SPAD will be soliciting proposals on how to improve feeder services using lower-cost environmentally-friendly vehicles. The roll-out in pilot residential can commence after we analyze the proposals received. 

(v) Taxis
Taxis are a unique form of public transport. They are the only form of public transport that provides unscheduled services. However they play a very important part of the entire public transport ecosystem in Malaysia. The main roles for taxis are to provide first-mile and last0mile connectivity to those using other forms of public transport, to provide public transport services beyond the normal operation hours of scheduled public transport services and to provide a premium door-to-door public for those who can afford it. 

Teksi 1Malaysia or TEKS1M was introduced as a new taxi class, with emphasis on the first & last mile service level. As part of SPAD’s taxi transformation plans, all existing metered taxis must migrate into TEKS1M. This exercise is expected to be completed by 2025. As for non-metered taxis colloquially called hired cars, the transformation plan envisages that existing hired cars in the cities will be converted to TEKS1M, while hired cars in the rural areas are to migrate to a new class called community transit service class, focusing on serving the local residents. The transformation programme will also emphasize upgrading of service standards. 

The fleet enhancement component of the has minimum vehicle specifications that ensure passenger safety, comfort and convenience. For example, there will be new standards on minimum headroom, legroom and luggage space for a vehicle to be approved as a taxi. Safety standards are also set. The Centralised Taxi Service System (CTSS) is a technology infrastructure initiative that will serve as the platform to monitor taxi performance. In addition, its integration with the existing booking & dispatch systems aims to enhance passenger booking experience. Initiatives to improve driver behaviour will focus on uplifting the knowledge, skills and image of taxi drivers. This includes code of ethics, driver orientation and train the trainer programme. These approaches are developed and conducted with passengers’ interest in mind, Through the transformation initiatives, it is hoped that the taxi service will be more accessible to the public, at greater comfort and convenience, with the service provided by professional and courteous taxi drivers. 

(vi) Integrated Ticketing 
The final initiative that I would like to mention here is integrated ticketing initiative. Currently despite what some think there is no integrated ticketing between operators. Even if you use Touch-and-Go cards to travel between two operators e.g. KTMB and Rapid Rail, you have to get out of one system and get into the other. So you will be charged twice and there is no discount in case you are merely transferring from one system to another. 

Under the Government’s integrated ticketing initiative which SPAD is implementing, all these will be a thing of the past. Passengers will be allowed to change from one rail operator to another without having to pay twice and thus we can eliminate the transfer penalty that transfer passengers are charged. Similarly public transport users will be able to change from buses to trains and vice-versa within a fixed time frame without having to pay a transfer penalty. Integrated ticketing will therefore bring both convenience and financial benefits to public transport users. This initiative will be in place by the opening of the MRT1 line on 31st December 2016. Eventually we will extend the benefits of integrated to park-and-ride users as well. 


I know it is customary to end speeches on public transport with the quote from the former Bogota Mayor Penalosa to the effect that an advanced city is not a place where the poor move about in cars, rather it’s where even the rich use public transportation. However I would like to reach back to an even more ancient quote. Plato in 400 BC said “Any city, however small is in fact divided into two: one the city for the poor and the other the city for the rich". I see public transport as the means to reduce the gap between these two Platonic cities within a city. I am fully aware that the rakyat’s expectations on urban public transport are unlimited while their patience to see improvements is very limited. We in SPAD will strive to satisfy both. I hope that my luncheon address has given you enough food for thought on how we intend to do so. 

Thank you.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Dasar Malaysia terhadap Israel adalah satu-satunya dasar yang paling konsisten dan berprinsip. Sejak zaman Tunku Abdul Rahman Malaysia tidak menjalin hubungan diplomatik dengan Israel kerana tindakannya menzalimi dan menafikan hak rakyat Palestin. Sehingga hari ini pendirian berprinsip dan konsisten tersebut terus menjadi pegangan dasar luar Malaysia. Justru itu setiap usul Majlis Keselamatan PBB yang mengkritik atau mengutuk tindakan Israel turut serta disokong oleh Malaysia.  

Israel ditubuhkan dalam tahun 1948 oleh PBB dengan garis persempadanan yang ditetapkan dan Palestin juga dijanjikan haknya untuk menubuhkan sebuah negara merdeka pada ketika itu. Walaubagaimana pun sehingga sekarang keputusan PBB tidak lagi terlaksana sedangkan wilayah Israel semakin diluaskan tanpa mendapat endorsement undang-undang antarabangsa atau PBB. Palestin terus mengecil dan terkepong disebabkan konflik ketenteraan ataupun rampasan tanah orang Palestin oleh Israel di atas alasan keselamatan. PBB dan masyarakat antarabangsa tidak diendahkan oleh Israel kerana penguatkuasaannya tidak dapat dilakukan oleh PBB kerana penggunaan kuasa veto oleh kuasa besar tertentu. 

Pada Malaysia, Israel mengamalkan pendekatan terrorisme menzalimi dan menindas masyarakat Palestin. Rakyat Palestin menjadi pelarian diatas tindakan Israel dan tanah mereka turut dirampas. Malaysia berpendapat Israel tidak mungkin dikalahkan ataupun tunduk kepada desakan masyarakat antarabangsa. Pendekatan persenjataan untuk mengalahkan Israel pun tidak akan menghasilkan sebuah negara Palestin. Setiap tindakan rakyat Palestin bagi menuntut kebebasan dan kemerdekaan dibalas dengan tindakan ketenteraan Israel yang lebih kejam dan melampau. 

Israel berjaya membesarkan wilayah dan memperluaskan kawasan kependudukan baru walaupun dari segi undang-undang antarabangsa ia tidak sah. Di setiap peperangan yang tercetus di antara Arab/Israel, ia akan berakhir dengan kekalahan negara-negara Arab. Apa yang jelas ialah Israel merupakan kuasa ketenteraan yang terkuat di Timur Tengah yang didokong pula oleh kuasa-kuasa besar barat. Yang jelas US/UK lebih-lebih lagi US tidak akan membenarkan Israel untuk ditewaskan di dalam peperangan dengan negara Arab ataupun melalui usul di PBB atau Majlis Keselamatan. Justru hakikat sebenar pada Malaysia, negara Palestin tidak akan terbentuk melalui pendekatan persenjataan ataupun intifada. 

Apabila Dr. Mahathir menjadi Perdana Menteri Malaysia, beliau menerima dan sedar pendekatan terbaik untuk merealisasikan aspirasi rakyat Palestin untuk menubuhkan sebuah negara merdeka hanya akan tercapai melalui rumusan politik dan rundingan diplomasi. Malaysia yakin melalui rumusan politik dan rundingan diplomasi yang didokong oleh masyarakat antarabangsa khususnya kuasa-kuasa besar barat yang menjadi Ahli Tetap Majlis Keselamatan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu boleh memenuhi aspirasi rakyat Palestin untuk mencapai sebuah negara merdeka. Surat-surat Dr. Mahathir adalah satu cubaan kearah itu (Rujuk surat-surat Tun Mahathir kepada tiga PM Israel yang menekankan perkara tersebut). 

Pada era Dr. Mahathir, Malaysia terus berada di barisan hadapan memainkan peranan untuk mempengaruhi Agenda multilateral di PBB, OIC, NAM dan ASEAN. Begitu juga di peringkat bilateral, Malaysia terus meningkatkan hubungan dua hala dengan negara-negara Islam dan negara-negara membangun di Asia Barat, Africa dan Amerika Selatan. Lantaran itu pendirian dan penyataan Malaysia kelihatan lantang di persada antarabangsa dalam konflik Israel/Palestin. Pendirian itu diketahui dan diiktiraf oleh masyarakat antarabangsa termasuk Palestin, Amerika Syarikat, negara-negara Eropah dan negara-negara Islam dan Arab. 

Kini kewujudan Israel telah tidak lagi dipertikaikan oleh negara-negara Islam dan Arab, kerana mahu melihat terbentuknya sebuah negara Palestin serta menjalin hubungan diplomatik untuk mencapai kedamaian di rantau tersebut. Negara-negara yang berada di barisan hadapan Mesir dan Jordan telah awal-awal lagi menandatangani perjanjian damai dan mengadakan hubungan diplomatik dengan Israel. Turki pula dari mula penubuhan negara Israel telah mengiktirafnya dan menjalin hubungan diplomatik. Negara-negara Islam lain menerima asas rundingan-rundingan pencapaian kearah damai di antara Israel dan PLO melalui syor yang dirancang oleh negara-negara Arab ataupun P5 dan Jerman. Ia dilihat sebagai satu peluang munasabah untuk merungkaikan masalah melahirkan sebuah negara Palestin, sebelah menyebelah dengan Israel dalam keadaan aman dan selamat. 

Lebih 60 tahun telah berlalu namun kemerdekaan Palestin masih lagi menjadi impian dan jauh dari tercapai. Terdapat 224 usul Majlis Keselamatan Bangsa Bersatu samaada yang dibawa oleh negara membangun atau negara lain untuk mencapai penyelesaian tetapi Israel tetap berdegil kerana Amerika Syarikat sebagai Ahli Tetap Majlis Keselamatan Bangsa Bersatu melindungi dan tidak teragak-agak menggunakan kuasa ‘veto’ terhadap apa-apa usul yang dianggap bertentangan dengan kepentingan Israel. Doktrin Ponte Negro Wakil Tetap Amerika Syarikat memberi penjelasan terhadap pendirian Amerika Syarikat dalam isu-isu kritikal terhadap Israel akan ditolak. 

Israel sering mengatakan mereka kononnya menerima jalan penyelesaian melalui rundingan damai tetapi tindakan dan amalannya adalah disebaliknya. Yang ketara mereka gagal melaksanakan apa jua terma-terma perjanjian-perjanjian yang telah ditandatangani ataupun melaksanakan semangat persetujuan-persetujuan yang diusahakan oleh masyarakat antarabangsa. PBB dan masyarakat antarabangsa dalam agenda melibatkan Israel tidak berupaya dan lumpuh untuk bertindak memberi keadilan kepada rakyat Palestin. Israel memberikan pelbagai alasan dan syarat-syarat baru disetiap kali rundingan akan diadakan. Di masa sama pendirian Malaysia di zaman Mahathir terhadap isu-isu Palestin terus konsisten, berprinsip, tegas dan jelas. 

Tiga surat rasmi yang pernah ditulis oleh Perdana Menteri Malaysia pada ketika itu kepada Perdana Menteri Israel yang didedahkan baru-baru ini mencerminkan pendirian Malaysia dan bukanlah satu rahsia. Mungkin ada seorang dua manusia yang tidak mahu menerima kebenaran tetapi sebenarnya orang-orang itu adalah penyokong Israel. 

Surat-surat tersebut memaparkan ketinggian diplomasi Malaysia dalam menyuarakan pandangan dan pendiriannya keatas Israel. Saya ingin memetik ungkapan dari beberapa surat tersebut yang secara jelas menunjukkan ketegasan dan sikap berprinsip Malaysia terhadap Israel seperti berikut: “….Masalah Timur Tengah terutamanya isu Palestin telah menjadi punca ketidakstabilan di rantau itu dan saya berharap perjanjian baru-baru ini antara Israel dan PLO akan menyumbang kepada keamanan yang berpanjangan di kawasan itu. –Surat Dr Mahathir kepada Yitzhak Rabin 

Dalam suratnya kepada Nentanyahu beliau menulis : “Malaysia percaya kepada keamanan dan penyelesaian masalah antara negara berjiran menerusi rundingan. Sebagai jalan keluar terakhir, kami beralih kepada pihak ketiga…” “….Perkara penting yang ingin saya tekankan ialah untuk tidak mengambil apa yang telahpun menjadi kepunyaan orang lain sungguhpun daripada segi sejarah, ia mungkin kepunyaan tuan. Akhir-akhir ini Israel telah merobohkan penempatan Arab dalam usaha mendirikan rumah bagi rakyat Israel. Seluruh dunia, termasuk sekutu tuan, Amerika Syarikat, mengutuk tindakan ini. Namun Israel tetap meneruskan juga….” –Surat Dr Mahathir kepada Benjamin Nentanyahu 

Suratnya kepada Ehud Barak mengulangi pendirian yang sama : “…Saya ingin mengambil peluang ini untuk mengulangi pendirian Malaysia yang sentiasa memperjuangkan keamanan dan penyelesaian masalah antara jiran menerusi rundingan. Oleh itu menjadi harapan kami untuk melihat pelaksanaan bersama perjanjian yang ditandatangani antara PLO dan Israel. Kami juga percaya jika proses perdamaian hendak diselamatkan, langkah-langkah berkesan mesti diambil untuk memenuhi komitmen. Sebagai rakan penting dalam proses damai adalah mustahak bagi Israel lebih bersedia bertolak ansor. Rakyat Palestin telah membuat pengorbanan besar….” –Surat Dr Mahathir kepada Ehud Barak 

Dr. Mahathir sendiri telah menggalakkan Allahyarham Presiden Arafat untuk mengambil satu keputusan yang agak payah baginya dengan meminta beliau mengambil pendekatan rundingan dengan Israel dibawah naungan PBB dan didokongi Amerika Syarikat. Sehingga sekarang rundingan demi rundingan tidak dapat mencapai apa-apa rumusan yang bermakna semata-mata kerana sikap dan kedegilan Israel. Namun tiada kuasa termasuk Amerika Syarikat dan Bangsa Bersatu boleh memaksa dan menghukum Israel. 

Justeru surat-surat Dr. Mahathir kepada tiga Perdana Menteri Israel tidak mengubah pendirian Malaysia terhadap Palestin ataupun Israel. Dimasa sama beliau menegaskan Israel hendaklah mengambil langkah kearah kedamaian dan menunaikan tanggungjawabnya. Rakyat Palestin banyak berkorban dan Israel perlu berani mengambil langkah sama. Mangsa dalam konflik Palestin/Israel adalah warga Palestin kerana keganasan dan penganiayaan Israel yang lebih dahsyat dari sebelumnya yang pernah disaksikan di wilayah itu. 

Bagi menjalankan mandat negara, saya pernah pada tahun 1999-2000 bertemu dengan Menteri Luar Israel, sewaktu Perhimpunan Agong PBB dan sekali lagi dengan Timbalan Perdana Menteri yang juga Menteri Luar kedua-duanya di New York. Pertemuan tersebut diadakan diatas permintaan Israel. Mereka mahu menjalin hubungan diplomatik atau sekurang-kurangnya hubungan teknikal dengan Malaysia. Namun selaku Menteri Luar Malaysia ketika itu, saya menolak selagi konflik Palestin/Israel tidak diselesaikan. Tiada kompromi dan tiada perubahan dasar. Bukanlah satu kesalahan untuk menulis atau berjumpa dengan pemimpin-pemimpin Israel bagi menyatakan pendirian Malaysia. Israel menganggap Malaysia adalah negara luar biasa kerana lebih tegas dari negara-negara Arab dan berpegang teguh kepada pendiriannya berbanding negara Islam lain. Keselamatan rakyat Palestin adalah penting yang perlu dilindungi bukan keselamatan Israel yang sememangnya sudah selamat. 

Pendirian ini tidak berubah sama ada secara bilateral ataupun multilateral. Suara Malaysia tetap tidak berubah memperjuangkan secara berterusan menegakkan hak dan keadilan untuk Palestin. Ada segelintir kecil rakyat negara yang cuba memutarbelitkan fakta dengan pembohongan atau mereka-reka cerita tetapi ia tidak mengubah kebenaran. 

create : 3 Februari 2012 
edited : 28 November 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Cebisan perjuangan Tan Sri Syed Jaafar bin Hasan Albar

Saya masih ingat kisah kehidupan sewaktu saya remaja. Kehidupan ketika itu begitu mudah dan suasana kampung begitu terasa. Kita bergantung sepenuhnya di dalam proses mendewasakan diri kepada kasih sayang yang di curahkan oleh ayahanda, bonda atau panggilannya walid atau ummi serta saudara mara. Walaupun hidup serba sederhana, namun senantiasa tenang dan bahagia. Kita hormat serta takut pada ayahanda dan bonda bukan kerana mereka garang atau keras tetapi ada adab dan santunnya dalam hubungan kekeluargaan. Terfikir saya betapa susahnya bonda menjaga 10 orang adik beradik. Tetapi mereka didik dan asuh setiap seorang dari kami supaya menjadi manusia berguna kepada keluarga dan masyarakat. Kami bimbing dan dididik supaya berpegang kepada nilai-nilai hidup yang murni dan beretika. Kedua-dua orang tua saya didik ahli keluarga supaya mudah bergaul dan tidak sombong dengan semua lapisan masyarakat.

Bonda tertumpu membesarkan anak-anak dan menguruskan rumahtangga. Dengan 10 orang adek-beradek (asalnya 12), rumah kami sentiasa hingar-bingar sepanjang masa lebih-lebih lagi bila berkumpul, bermesra dan bersantai. Zaman itu bonda tiada seorang pun pembantu rumah, tempatan ataupun orang asing untuk membantu. 

Setelah berpindah dari Kota Baru Kelantan ke Johor Bharu ayahanda saya kelam kabut cari tempat tinggal untuk menampung semua keluarga. Masa itu tidak banyak pilihan melainkan ambil sahaja apa yang ada atau ditawarkan. Akhirnya dapat menyewa rumah berek di Jalan Storey, Johor Bharu. Bila keadaan sudah tenteram dan ayahanda ada masa untuk mencari rumah lain yang lebih selesa dan berjaya kami berpindah lagi ke Jalan Wadi Hasan. Disitu dapatlah kami sekeluarga tinggal di sebuah rumah yang lebih selesa dan besar sikit. Wadi Hasan terletak diantara bandar dan kampung. 

Sedih bila fikirkan bagaimana bonda terpaksa bekerja keras membasuh baju, memasak untuk menyediakan hidangan ala kadar untuk famili yang ramai. Tetapi alhamdulillah semua cukup untuk setiap ahli keluarga kami menikmatinya. 

Ayahanda saya, setelah menjadi perantau dan habiskan persekolahannya di madrasah Al Junid, Singapura, beliau memulakan kerjaya sebagai seorang guru, kemudian menjadi guru besar di sekolah Arab Islah, Kota Bharu. Beliau juga menceburi bidang penulisan sebagai journalis akhbar dan majalah. Lebih bermakna lagi beliau menghabiskan hayatnya dengan mengabdikan diri pada UMNO. 

Bila kami berpindah semula ke JB beliau diambil menjadi penolong pegawai penerangan. Selepas itu bertugas sebagai ketua penerangan dan dua kali menjadi Setiausaha Agong UMNO di bawah kepimpinan Tunku. Selaku pemegang jawatan UMNO ayahanda saya menjelajah seluruh pelusuk negara mempromosikan UMNO dan kemudiannya Parti Perikatan. Tugas tersebut di pikul dengan penuh dedikasi dan komitmen serta amanah, ikhlas dan setia. Bila negara mencapai kemerdekaan kami sekeluarga berpindah ke KL dari Johor kerana UMNO berpindah. Saya tidak lupa yang beliau pernah berhenti dari jawatan Ketua Penerangan, Setiausaha Agong UMNO dan juga Menteri Muda Penerangan kerana berselisih dengan Tunku diatas soal dasar. Tetapi hubungan beliau dan hormatnya pada Tunku tidak pernah berubah.

Pada tahun 1955 Tunku menghantarnya sebagai Menteri Kaunselor Penerangan di Suruhanjaya Malaysia di Great Britain. Tujuan utama Tunku adalah untuk memperbaiki bahasa dan pertuturannya dalam Bahasa Inggeris. Saya boleh katakan yang ayahanda saya berkorban untuk agama, bangsa dan negara dan berjuang di medan politik UMNO sehingga akhir hayatnya. Justru beliau tidak pernah meninggalkan UMNO. 

Ayahanda saya berkerja sepenuh masa untuk politik dan UMNO. Sedangkan bonda menunggu dengan taat dan setia di rumah, betul-betul berfungsi sebagai suri rumah. Saban hari ayahanda di perantauan menjelajah untuk berceramah dan berkempen di seluruh pelusuk negara untuk memasarkan UMNO sebagai wadah perjuangan bagi memerdekakan negara dan umat Melayu dari belenggu penjajahan. Walau apa pun ayahanda saya tetap taat pada Tunku selaku Presiden Parti walaupun dari masa ke semasa dia mempunyai pegangan dan pendirian yang berbeza. Selalunya bila ada perbezaan prinsip berlaku, beliau akan mengundurkan diri dari jawatan tetapi tetap bertungkus lumus untuk UMNO. 

Apa yang saya catitkan adalah dari perhatian dan cerita kawan-kawan sezaman beliau. Ini bukanlah satu cerita lengkap tetapi selintas pandang. Ayahanda mengambil pendekatan menegakkan kebenaran secara tegas dan berani apabila menyentuh persoalan agama dan bangsa Melayu. Bukan bertujuan untuk menjadi juara dan beliau tidak ambil peduli apabila di panggil sebagai ultra oleh penjajah atau Lee Kuan Yew dalam menegakkan hak dan kedudukan orang Melayu. Padanya Lee Kuan Yew lebih chauvinis dan ultra bila memperjuangkan kedudukan kaum Cina di Singapura dan Semenanjung Malaya. Padanya ia jelas kelihatan jika di teliti dari ucapan serta penyataan-penyataan Lee Kuan Yew, semasa beliau berkempen ataupun dalam hujah-hujahnya. Tapi sebagai seorang yang cerdas dan pintar Lee Kuan Yew bijak berselindung disebalik kata-katanya. Adakalanya Lee Kuan Yew boleh dianggap lebih extreme lagi bila menghujahkan mengenai isu orang Melayu juga bangsa pendatang, yang dengan sendirinya menafikan realiti sejarah nusantara di rantau ini. 

Secara jujur dan ikhlas ayahanda saya berani menegur dan mengkritik siapa juga pemimpin tertinggi parti dan kerajaan semata-mata untuk kebaikan parti dan kerajaan. Walaupun demikian hubungannya dengan pemimpin tertinggi parti ataupun diperingkat akar umbi. Mithalnya beliau tidak segan menyatakan dia tidak setuju dengan pemberian Carcosa kepada kerajaan British dengan alasan mengapa perlu beri hadiah pada penjajah sedangkan mereka telah menjajah negara untuk sekelian lama dan meraih keuntungan darinya. Begitu juga prinsip terus terang beliau apabila menentang cadangan menyingkirkan Singapura dari Malaysia. Jajaran politiknya menarik dan ada masanya kontroversial. 

Oleh kerana keberanian dan ketegasannya beliau terkenal dan digelar ’Singa UMNO’. Di atas pengorbanannya Allah swt membalasnya. Bila beliau menghembuskan nafasnya yang terakhir, ia berlaku semasa membuat ucapan kepada Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO Johor selaku jawatan Ketua Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO Malaysia. 

Beliau berpegang kuat kepada prinsip maruah agama, bangsa dan negara tidak boleh digadai dan dipermudahkan. Penulisan ini hanya secebis cerita kecil tentang pengorbanan seorang pejuang negara. Matlamatnya bukan wang ringgit tetapi mahu melihat bangsa dan negara bebas dari belenggu penjajahan. Ucapannya menanamkan semangat waja kepada anak bangsa. Umno menjadi wadah suci yang di pupuk dengan jujur dan ikhlas. 

Penghormatan kepadanya adalah bila Dr. Mahathir mengizinkan supaya beliau disemadikan di perkarangan makam pahlawan di Masjid Negara diatas permintaan Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO Malaysia. Semoga Allah swt mencucuri rahmat keatas rohnya dan menempatkan beliau dalam kalangan para solehin.




Cities are our future in every sense of the word. More and more of our population are going to be living in cities and more and more of our social, economic and cultural activities will focus on our cities. If previous generations and even the present generation have been shaped by the values of our kampungs, future generations will be shaped by the values of our cities. 

The role of mobility in future cities can hardly be overestimated. As urbanized population of the world passed the ‘symbolic threshold’ of 50 percent in 2007 going to exceed 60% by 2030 and the role of cities in the production of both economic and intellectual value is increasing (only 600 urban centers generate about 60 percent of global GDP; McKinsey Global Institute, 2011), the availability of transportation systems able to accommodate for future mobility needs of people and goods without consuming resources beyond acceptable level is quintessential. This is true both in the developed and developing worlds. The decisions we make today will influence how our cities will function in 20 years’ time and more. Hence the theme of this year’s LPT Symposium “The Future of Our Cities: Thinking Ahead, Building Together” is most apt. 

The future of urban mobility is certainly dependent on how urban transportation systems, and more generally cities, are today. And they are very different among each other in the first place. Cities around the world have different dimensions and structure, have reached solutions to their mobility needs that are very diverse. 

However there are a number of similarities among urban transportation of most cities. The building blocks of their transportation systems are very similar across cities and they differ in the way these components are used. 

When I say “our cities”, I do not just mean Malaysian cities but rather ASEAN cities. Why, you may ask? Well ever since I was Foreign Minister, I have always held the view that the ultimate success of ASEAN is measured not just by how many communiques are signed or how many Leaders’ Summits are held but also by how relevant ASEAN is to our citizens. Do we, ordinary citizens, feel that our lives are better off because we are in ASEAN? Do we feel that we have a personal stake in the success of ASEAN? Do we? If I were to answer honestly, and not diplomatically, I would have to say “Not that much”. So let me practice what I preach and talk today not just about the future of Malaysian cities but “The Future of ASEAN Cities”. 

At this point in time transportation is a problem in most cities exactly because it fails to achieve the standards of economic and environmental efficiency that would be desirable for their citizens and institutions. Thinking about future urban mobility is thus not only a challenging intellectual exercise, but could provide some insight on what “evolution trajectories” are to be preferred, or avoided, from the social and economic perspectives. 

“Changes in urban transportation can be induced by a number of factors either acting independently or jointly to shape future configurations.” In this regard the future of our cities must be seen in the context of whether it is able to sustain mobility of people and goods. This will require us to look at the supply chain, be it LRT, MRT or other modes to meet the needs and demands of public transport. Of course this must fit in with the Master Plan On Public Transport to shape perception to gain acceptance on the usage of public transport. The big challenge is when cities transformed to mega cities. The primary role of public transport must be to sustain mobility. In the context of ASEAN we need to manage the Asian Economic Community (AEC). 


ASEAN has always been the cornerstone of Malaysia’s foreign policy. It always had an economic dimension. Malaysia pioneered the policy of “Prosper Thy Neighbour” to try and ensure that we reduced the economic disparities among the different ASEAN countries. I am therefore very happy that ASEAN is going to implement the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, a year that coincidentally Malaysia holds the ASEAN chairmanship. The AEC is one of the three pillars of Bali Concord II of ASEAN encompassing the economic, political-security and socio-cultural. However the AEC is the most pragmatic and significant of the three pillars. 

The business case for the AEC is compelling. If ASEAN were a single country, it would already be the seventh-largest economy in the world. Its combined 2013 GDP is of US2.4 trillion is more than 25% larger than India’s economy in the same year. Its population of more than 600 million is larger than that of the European Union or North America. ASEAN has the third-largest labour force in the world behind only the other two Asian giants China and India. Equally importantly, it is a youthful population and thus can reap the demographic dividend. Not only is the ASEAN economic performance outstanding, it is also resilient. The current economic troubles in the US and EU did not have major adverse impact on ASEAN’s economic performance. 


Now all this present and future potential from economic growth is all very nice, but what has it got to do with the future of ASEAN cities, you may ask. The answer is of course that cities are the engines of economic growth. For this purpose, I wish to make clear that when I refer to cities, I mean urban areas having a population of 200,000 or more. Based on the minimum population, Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates show that in 2013 just over one-third of ASEAN’s population lives in cities and they generate two-thirds of the region’s GDP. Successful implementation of the AEC therefore depends in large part on the state of ASEAN cities. 

Urbanization is a major driver of economic growth. In fact no country has ever climbed from low-income to middle-income status without a significant population shift into cities. In Malaysia, for example, real GDP per capita (in purchasing power parity terms) rose 3.4% annually as the urban share of the population increased from 50% to 72%. Cities have productivity advantages that result from the effects of agglomeration. Agglomeration represents the efficiency advantages from the clustering of firms and economies of scale within an urban area. There has therefore been a progressive concentration, specialization and integration of production and capital in cities that offer such competitive advantages. 

This is true not only at the national level but also at the global level. Decisions on location of economic activity now depend less on particular countries and more on the comparative advantages on different cities. Investment tends to concentrate in cities where integration into the global economy is easiest responding not only to national incentives but also to better access to communications technology, international capital markets, as well as globally integrated value chains of production and distribution. ASEAN cities have benefited from these global trends. Kuala Lumpur and Penang are leading global exporters of electronics goods, while Ayutthaya and Chonburi have joined the ranks of major vehicle and automotive parts exporters. Metro Manila and Cebu have established thriving business processing outsourcing industry serving clients in North America while the city-state of Singapore dominates regional finance and logistics industries. 

Millions of ASEAN citizens benefited from these trends. The urbanization rate in ASEAN for the period 1994-2012 was 0.6% per annum. This resulted in the urban population increasing by almost 10 percentage points. The international consultant McKinsey estimates that in 2012 some 81 million households in ASEAN cities are part of the “consuming class” with annual income exceeding US$7,500 in purchasing power parity terms. This is the level at which they can afford to make significant discretionary purchases such as motor vehicles, refrigerators and the like. Millions more have lifted themselves out of poverty by migrating from rural areas to cities to take advantage of economic opportunities and higher incomes afforded by these global trends. 

But they were not the only beneficiaries. The economist Paul Krugman got his Nobel Prize for his insights into the link between spatial urban economics and international trade theory, insights that rural migrants to cities seemed to instinctively possess. The academic and consultant Michael Porter got rich and famous advising the rich and famous on the benefits of urban clusters, again benefits that the nameless, faceless masses of ASEAN instinctively knew. 


Let us now see what the wise men have to say about the future. McKinsey estimates that by 2030 ASEAN cities will house 45% of the total population and generate 76% of the region’s GDP. At one end of the scale the number of cities with a population of 5 million or more is expected to increase to from the current 4 to 11 while at the other end of the scale there will be 160 cities with a population of 200,000 to 750,000. The “consuming class” will expand to 163 million households. The population growth rate will be higher in the case of the smaller cities. Cities with a current population of 200,000 – 750,000 are expected to growth at a rate of 6.5%, those with between 750,000 – 2 million at 6.1%. Current second-tier cities having between 2 million – 5 million people will grow at 5.4% and megacities with more than 5 million at 5.1%. Thus ASEAN’s urbanization trend is much more than the continued growth of its largest cities or its capital cities. All in all an additional 90 million people are expected to move to ASEAN cities in the next 15 years. 

Cities are exceedingly complex systems and managing such rapid expansion is no small task. Although cities generate employment and nurture innovation, their expansion can often be accompanied by environmental degradation. If ASEAN cities grow faster than their infrastructure, the result will be uncontrolled urban sprawl that destroys established communities and imposes higher costs of service provision. The balance between the benefits of urbanization and the cost needs to be managed since in the future, it is clear that the quality of life for most ASEAN citizens will be determined by the nature of cities. Bright prospects are neither guaranteed nor universal. Even now, visitors to some ASEAN cities are often greeted by the sight of traffic congestion, uncollected garbage, beggars, and the squalid living conditions of squatter areas. 

Prof. Herbert Giradet, a recipient of the UN Global 500 Award for outstanding environmental achievements and co-founder of the World Future Council, in 1996 came up with a memorable statistic – that cities occupy only 2% of the planet’s land area but consume 75% of its resources. Personally I think that this is a good example of academics being too clever by half when bandying about statistics. Why did he use urban land area and not urban population as the basis of his comparison? After all resources are consumed by people and not by the land. Probably because saying cities contain 45% of the planet’s population and consume 75% of its resources does not sound as dramatic. Be that as it may, his underlying point is valid even if his use of statistics is not, namely that we need to use our resources more efficiently. 

Economic growth has traditionally been associated with increases in both energy consumption and mobility. Both have environmental implications. They increase the emission of air pollutants. Cities are the major source i.e. 80% of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and climate change. 

ASEAN is not immune from these potential threats. Many of ASEAN’s largest cities such as Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore are all located near the coast and thus vulnerable to increases in sea level brought about by climate change. ASEAN cities now have a window of opportunity to set its second-tier and smaller cities on a more sustainable development path and to address the growing pains of its largest cities before they become intractable problems. As explained earlier, AEC will generate additional resources for each ASEAN country. ASEAN cities have to ensure that we use these resources efficiently in the future. The single most effective manner to do this is to curb urban sprawl, the uncontrolled and excessive spatial expansion of cities leading to inefficient use of land, capital investment and other resources. I consider urban sprawl to be one of the most significant if least documented example of market failure. Make no mistake, sprawl imposes real financial costs to the public. It increases the cost of providing essential public services such as water and waste removal, it leads to increased capital investment such as roads. It is also inequitable since lower income people who are less likely to rely on cars are correspondingly less like to benefit from the additional investment in road infrastructure. Then there are the intangible costs of congestion and pollution arising from a sprawling city. 

Policy makers in ASEAN cities currently have one major existing policy tool to guide the pattern of urban development namely transport infrastructure investment policy. If we want to foster a compact urban form, then our transport investment has to necessarily give priority to public transport investment. If we instead give priority to building roads in the name of connectivity and relieving congestion and leave public transport until later, then we can be sure that the city urban form will be shaped by private vehicle use and the task of installing public transport and changing travel behaviour will be more difficult. 

I also agree with the urban strategy put forward in the New Climate Economy Report 2014 prepared by the Global Commission on Climate and the Economy. This Commission is chaired by the former President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon. It is a very good and informative report and I strongly urge all of you to read it. When it comes to future urban development, it recommends compact, connected and coordinated cities or what I like to call the 4C approach. 

Different cities can apply the 4C approach in different ways. Small and medium-sized cities in ASEAN growing at 6% or more per year could design in compact urban growth features from the start. These include integrating residential, commercial and industrial areas and designing efficient public transport routes. They could provide connected infrastructure by introducing road-based public transit system such as the conventional bus and Bus Rapid Transit systems. Where appropriate urban rail systems including trams could also be provided. They can introduce coordinated governance by building up capacity, systems and procedures to carry out integrated land use – transport planning. 

Medium and large ASEAN cities expecting growth rates of 5-6% per annum could introduce several compact urban growth strategies. These include re-densification through regeneration of existing city cores and supporting hubs, developing multiple hubs, encouraging brownfield re-development, encouraging transit-oriented developments and urban retrofitting as well as managed growth of the urban periphery. For connected infrastructure, they could consider expanding public transport systems and introducing new forms of public transport such as mass rapid transit systems. For coordinated governance, they need to practice integrated land use – transport planning and develop financing structures to support public transport including considering road pricing and land value capture mechanisms. 

All this may sound academic and theoretical for some of you. Let me assure you that it is not. Two cities of similar population and socio-economic function and status can have very different impact on resource utilization and carbon emission depending on the policy choice they make whether to opt for a compact city or a sprawling city. Let us look at some real cities to illustrate this point. Houston has a population of 2.5 million. Barcelona has a population of 2.8 million. Both have important economic functions, Houston being the largest city in Texas, one of the best performing states economically in the US and Barcelona the capital of Catalonia, the most economically vibrant region of Spain. Yet Houston occupies 4,280 sq. km while Barcelona occupies just 162 sq. km. You can imagine the waste in resources. Houston spends about 14% of its city GDP on transport compared with 4% in Barcelona. Transport carbon dioxide emissions are 7.5 tonnes per person per year in Houston compared 0.7 tonnes per person in Barcelona. 

It is up to us now to decide which model we in ASEAN would like to follow – Houston or Barcelona? Do we want urban sprawl or a compact city? Do we want a car-oriented city or a public transport-oriented city? In case you are still not sure, just google for the 2014 Quality of Life survey published by Monocle magazine. You will find Barcelona rated No 21 in the world. Houston is not even mentioned. By the way, I want to assure you that I am not picking on Houston because it is George Bush’s hometown! That’s pure coincidence. 


I know that I have spoken at some length this morning. But I could not help it. The topic, the Future of ASEAN Cities, somehow combined my twin professional passions. I am passionate about ASEAN and I am passionate about the need for better public transport in our cities. I firmly believe that in this globalized world, in a world of large trading blocs, size matters. We therefore need to make the AEC a success for our own success. 

The success of AEC in large part will be determined in our cities because our cities are the driving force of our economies. For that, we need to ensure that our cities function as efficiently as possible. While I recognize that good public transport by itself is not enough to make a city efficient, in the future with the rates of urbanization that we are seeing, no city can be considered efficient if it does not have good public transport. The success of AEC and the success of ASEAN cities will be mutually reinforcing. AEC will provide the additional resources to increase our cities’ quality of life while better quality of life in our cities will attract more investment to the AEC. So if you were to ask me what I wish for the future of ASEAN cities, my answer is simple– I want ASEAN cities to dominate the world’s quality of life indices in the future. Then every ASEAN citizen will know that he or she has a personal stake in the success of ASEAN. 

Thank you


Thursday, November 20, 2014


Aku ungkil kata di alam pertanyaan
Mengapa sunyi tanpa jawapan
Sedang berada di apong fikiran
Namun berkemelut kekeliruan
Mahu bertanya pada yang berpengetahuan
Insan jahil di pentas pemodenan
Sunyi walaupun bersama penghuni beribuan
Terasa bersendirian melakar harapan
Perjuangan terpinggir keseorangan
Lima puluh tujuh tahun mengecap kemerdekaan
Namun banyak lagi membelenggu perjalanan
Bosan di beritahu apa yang perlu ku laku dan katakan
Bukankah hutan rimba dan halaman
Sudah dilapangkan
Bangsawan, jutawan bertaburan
Menghirup kekayaan dan kemewahan
Aku hanya berkata tentang kemajuan
Agendamu kata pengorbanan
Aku khuatir jelata kebuluran dalam kemewahan
Aku dan keturunanku memerhati di tepian
Sedang kau berlumbaan dalam persaingan
Ekonomi pasaran
Umat ku tiada kesatuan
Terus di perkecilkan
Adakah kau ambil tahu
Yang berlantaran mencari kehormatan
Mungkin di akhir terowong
Ada cahaya kelihatan
Sebelum terlambat
Tertinggal sebagai sebahagian
Lakaran pensejarahan.

Sha. 5.40 petang. 
Teratak Shifaq.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Masehkah kau ingat
Janji-janji padaku
Di beberapa purnama yang telah berlalu
Kau kata aku ini perlu
Ide ku menyegarmu
Pandangan ku tidak samar
Kau merayu untuk aku bantu
Hormatnya aku dari kata-katamu
Aku tidak meminta wang ringgit diberi
Hanya menuntut pada janji yang kau taburi
Aku hanya mencari kelegaan di bumi Ilahi
Kau kata pasti di lestari
Lunak bahasa di ungkapi
Bila kau tiba ke mercu tinggi
Kau sudah lupa
Kau dijulang
Aku percaya lantas korban segala
Bila berada di pentas dunia
Kau sudah lupa
Curiga pada kawan dan sahabat lama
Di ambang kuasa terhembur mendusta
Masehkah kau ingat
Perjuangan dan pengorbanan
Dimana tercampak semua
Masihkah kau ingat janji-janjimu
Kini kau memungkiri
Kau laku kan sesuka
Aku dan jelata keliru dan bercelaru
Kau minta aku memberi jasa untuk nusa
Kau laungkan perjuangan nusa dan bangsa
Kau laku disebaliknya
Kau telah hancurkan percaya
Kau rupa-rupanya bermuka
Manis di bibir dusta
Curiga mengurus kuasa
Ada ramai membisik di telinga
Membawa nasihat-nasihat durjana
Gerombolan tanpa ihsan dan saksama
Berkuasa berasa perkasa
Kau campak janji di pinggir sana
Kau mahu aku di hina
Kau sekat supaya aku buntu tidak terkata
Kau penindas manusia yang setia
Kau bunuh harapan dan percaya
Sudah lupa agaknya fitnah seraya
Didorong bermain kata tidak bermakna
Aku yang percaya
Kau maseh ingat kah?
Segala janji-janji murni
Kata lunak dari mulut mu meminta
Membolot harta dan kuasa
Ah kau mudah lupa segala
Dari mula kau bertapak
Tidak akan mengotakannya
Aku mangsa
Namun kau tidak dapat menoda hormatku
Kau mahu melumat aku seperti tanah dan debu
Kau maseh ingat kah janji-janji mu
Aku silap percaya
Sebenarnya aku bertemu serigala
Tapi pemimpin ku
Jangan alpa pada pencatit sempurna
Dan aku juga tidak akan lupa

27hb Ogos 2014
Teratak Shifak
Pukul 9 pagi
Kuala Lumpur.

Opening Remark on HSR Seminar 2014

Good morning ladies and gentleman and welcome to HSR Seminar 2014. 

Honorable State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Government of Japan, Mr. NISHIMURA, and distinguished guests and ladies and gentlemen, good morning to all of you. 

I am delighted to welcome the seminar delegates companies and members of the Rail Trade fraternities, who have gathered here in Kuala Lumpur. Some of you have traveled from afar to be here today and this bodies well for your confidence in the Malaysian economy and what we here in Malaysia have to offer. May I take this opportunity to thank the organizer for choosing Malaysia as the venue for the event. 

Ladies and gentlemen, 

Railway and other infrastructure projects are a key element in the growth of Malaysia’s economy. A number of projects have already received full government backing and funding and we at SPAD are committed to developing and implementing a world class transportation system, both here in Kuala Lumpur and throughout the rest of Malaysia. The government has embarked into many rail projects amongst other is The Klang Valley MRT, which will be Malaysia’s largest ever infrastructure project. This will provide 3 new MRT lines, with up to 150km of track and more than 90 new stations. The electrification and upgrading of the West Coast is ongoing and there are now plans for a four stage East Coast mainline. 

On the higher scale, the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Singapore recently announced a high speed link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, which will cut rail travel time between these two major economic centers to just 90 minutes. These developments illustrate Malaysia’s commitment to continued expansion in the railway industry and demonstrate that now is a good time to be in railways and in Malaysia. Ladies and gentlemen, When we relate economy with Land Public Transport Commission (S.P.A.D), I cannot emphasize enough the importance, effectiveness and efficiency of the transport and storage sector. It contributes significantly to the country’s economy. This is 3.2% of the country’s GDP. As we aim for a GDP growth of 8% per annum, so we must make sure that the transport and logistics sector also grows accordingly. After all one of the mandates of S.P.A.D. is to increase the efficiency of the freight transport and logistics industry in Malaysia. 

Ladies & Gentlemen, 

Malaysia has a critical economic agenda and must stick to strict timelines if it is to achieve its goal of becoming a developed nation by the year 2020. S.P.A.D plays a critical and pivotal role in ensuring Malaysia meets its targets for Vision 2020 as public transport has been identified as a key driver for growth, and considered a prerequisite for the progress of Malaysia’s economic transformation. In order to do all this, we are guided by, amongst others, the National Land Public Transport Masterplan. 

This Masterplan aims to make public transport the people’s mode of choice via the transformation of the Malaysian public transport system. It aspires to increase mobility, create liveable cities and support economic growth and transformation. Our target is to have 40% modal share for public transport in the urban areas by the year 2030 and increased public transport connectivity in the rural areas. 

Ladies and gentlemen, 

There is much we can learn from one another and SPAD is committed to provide the means and environment in order to achieve this. Seminars such as these provide the platform to increase and improve professional standards with the ultimate end goal being to improve land public transport services and facilities in Malaysia. I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to Honorable State Minister Mr. NISHIMURA and other delegates and I would like to convey my best wishes to everyone involved in this seminar for its success. 

Thank you.

Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
4th November 2014


Aku menyingkap dari kotak fikiranku,
Dalam kesunyian fajar syahdu,
Aku melihat kepada perangai alam,
Tidak menentu dan tahu,
Berubah dan bergolak padu,
Ada masa aku terleka,
Pada nikmat yang bertalu

Ada ketika aku sedih pilu
Umat dan agamaku tercemar
Terlantar di persada hina
Tiada hormat dan mulia
Insan dibeli dunia
Lupa perintah lupa Allah
Terus sibuk berbalah
Saf tiada,
Syahada dibibir kata

Hilang amalan tanpa pegangan
Berlinangan air mata kerinduan
Pada kemuliaan dan kegemilangan
Tangan dan muka berlumuran darah
Lemah lesu tidak hikmah
Dipinggir di letak Quran dan Sunnah
Mencari panduan untuk berhemah
Terletaklah di sudut rendah
Sebelum bangkit untuk menegak ubah.

TSSHA@22 September 2014
5.22am @ New York