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Rotfaithai.Com :: View topic - Mass Transit System for Senior Citizens in Malaysia
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Mass Transit System for Senior Citizens in Malaysia

 
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Wisarut
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PostPosted: 14/09/2007 3:45 pm    Post subject: Mass Transit System for Senior Citizens in Malaysia Reply with quote

A commuter's view of the budget (Pt 2)
Moaz Yusuf Ahmad
Malaysiakini Sep 13, 07 1:35pm

The goals and vision for public transportation in Malaysia, as expressed by the government and DAP respectively in their budget proposals, are under the microscope here in the second and final paert. This is not a political analysis.

More of DAP shadow budget

By 2050, nearly one in five Malaysians will be aged 60 and above. In anticipation of the expected increase in our elderly population, and to meet the needs of the disabled population, our transport system has to evolve to meet the needs of the people.

Specifically, our initiatives to meet these needs should ensure that all existing LRT stations will be fitted with barrier-free facilities such as tactile guides and lifts to make them more accessible by 2009.

The Ministry of Transport will work with all bus operators in the major and secondary cities to bring in low-floor step-free buses from 2008 over the next 10 years. We anticipate 25% of buses will be wheelchair accessible by 2010 via gradual replacement and expansion. All transportation hubs are also expected to install disabled friendly toilets for their convenience.

In addition, all new buses serving the Klang Valley, Penang as well as Johor Bahru would have to incorporate ramps to enable wheelchair access. With the successful implementation of the programme, the policy shall be extended to other secondary cities in the future.

In addition, guidelines will also be drawn up to ensure that the above measures are complemented with accessible bus stops. As such, easy access must be provided to bus stops including walkways and pedestrian crossings. This will ensure that our cities take into consideration the needs of the elderly and the disabled to ensure that they remain integrated into society.

These are the main points

All existing LRT to be more accessible by 2009
Low floor step-free buses in secondary cities
Wheelchair ramps for all buses in Klang Valley, Penang and Johor Bahru
Accessible bus stops

Observations

The example of elderly and accessible transportation, as described above, illustrates again the way that public transportation is misunderstood. Making the public transportation system more accessible for the elderly and disabled population is a benevolent idea. The proposals, again, are thought out carefully and the goals are expressed.

However, the DAP once again only approaches the idea that public transportation would have significant social benefits. They never clearly state that improving public transportation would lead to improvements in Malaysian society.

Identifying the issues

The government fails to identify the issues in detail, except to mention the lower income group, traffic congestion and productivity. Presumably, these are all areas that are facing disadvantages, and improved public transportation would address these disadvantages.

The DAP identifies the issues relatively clearly, and gets points for using statistics and examples to support their arguments. DAP also addresses more issues about public transportation, such as congestion and accessibility. DAP also identifies problem areas within Malaysia and proposes solutions for these problem areas.

Goals

The government states that they will build a comprehensive network that will meet the needs of Penang and the Klang Valley. The proposals lack detail, but the government can point to the creation of Rapid and Prasarana and say that they are already taking steps towards these improvements.

The DAP states that they will aggressively expand existing public transportation networks and build new ones, in primary and secondary cities. They specifically propose a Circle line for the Klang Valley and revamped bus services for secondary cities, but no more detail is given. The DAP states a capacity goal for the Klang Valley rail network but gives little detail about their goals for other regions, or the country as a whole

Funding

The government budget proposes RM12 billion over four years but does not describe this funding in detail.

The DAP shadow budget proposes RM13.6 billion but does not give a specific time frame of how and when this money would be spent. This amount is broken down and described carefully, so we do have a general idea of where the DAP would spend the money.

Overall

The government says little about the issues, proposes very little in the way of solutions, and points to the examples of what they have already done for the Klang Valley and Penang. This suggests that public transportation has not received much attention for the 2008 Budget.

The DAP shadow budget analyses the issue carefully and proposes many different projects that they believe will provide solutions. In a practical sense, the DAP says much more in their shadow budget than the government does in the 2008 Budget. The proposed new lines and bus services, as well as the promise of aggressive expansion bode well, but the problem is that the DAP proposals do not really sound convincing to large numbers of people.

Evaluation

The 2008 Budget and shadow budget illustrate that the government and the opposition do not fully understand the public transportation file. Given the attitude towards public transportation in Malaysia, both parties must be more proactive in promoting public transportation as being beneficial and useful to Malaysian society.


Thus, both parties should identify clear economic, social, and environmental goals, and all proposals that they make should be in line with these goals.

The government does not clearly state their goals for public transportation. The DAP identifies some issues and some practical goals but does not clearly connect all of their proposed solutions to these goals.

Exceptions are found in the DAP proposals for elderly and accessible transportation which clearly identify that consideration and maintaining integration into society as a goal.

However, the DAP describes the solution as accessible transportation, rather than barrier free transportation. This dilutes the strength of the proposal. it again identifies public transportation as being for a limited few instead of being a choice for all Malaysians.

In addition, it should not be necessary to point out that Malaysia is more than just the Klang Valley and Penang and the major and secondary cities. If the government and the DAP want more Malaysians to consider public transportation as a viable choice, regardless of income and other factors, then they need to promote public transportation as a viable choice.

Conclusion

The government could have stated their firm commitment to changing the attitudes of Malaysian people towards public transportation. They could have identified improvements to existing public transportation and proposals for new improvements that would create a comprehensive, useful, and effective public transportation network for the entire country. Specific details would not matter that much if the government were at least able to identify a clear vision.

Similarly, DAP should also have used the shadow budget to express a vision. They should have addressed more of the economic, social and environmental advantages that public transportation would bring to Malaysian society, and included these advantages within their proposals. The DAP gets points for providing details and proposing ideas, but these ideas are nothing without a clearly stated vision.

Both parties missed out on the opportunity to state a clear vision for public transportation in Malaysia during the 2008 Budget process. We can only hope that the government and the DAP will recognize the importance of having such a vision, learn from each other, and take the necessary steps to identify this vision for the 2009 Budget.

Then, we can all work together and take the steps to make this vision a reality.
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