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