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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

‘Liew Chin Tong will never be transport minister’

Liew Chin Tong is at it again trying to hoodwink the electorate by playing populist games. An absurd proposal by the DAP MP on Sunday reeks of populist politics and is devoid of any transport planning logic whatsoever. His proposal to ‘pay people to take the bus’ was cleverly conceived to pander to the frustrated urban commuters stuck in daily traffic jams.
Selangor has since the beginning of this year provided free bus service in some of its most congested areas. RM12.5 million from the state have been paid to provide this free bus service. Have the people of Selangor seen any improvement in traffic levels in these areas? Why don’t the DAP take it one step further and pay people to work from home?
It is sad to see that despite millions spent on free buses in Selangor, the traffic congestion still persists. Despite election pledges to promote public transport usage, the Selangor state government continues to approve new tollways in the Klang Valley and more high density projects along the most congested parts of the Klang Valley, evident from the record number of tower cranes dotting the landscape in Selangor.
Being an opposition MP allows YB Liew a lot of creative and political freedom to wantonly propose harebrained ideas because him and his party does not need to show any tangible results.
It is ridiculous to propose that taxpayers from the 12 states should pay some 2 million commuters in the Klang Valley to take the bus just so that it will make his daily commute more bearable. Why should rural taxpayers subsidise urbanites? Our tax money should be used to maintain and upgrade our infrastructure so that we can grow and develop at par with the urban areas.
It is bad enough that the government is subsidising the highway companies to artificially depress toll prices when this money could be well spent on infrastructure development outside the Klang Valley. Now DAP expects the government to someone to use the bus?
If DAP really thinks that this is a viable idea, why have they not tried it out in Penang? Have a trial run for a year and pay Penangites to ditch their cars for buses. Being one of the most fiscally prudent states, I’m sure CM Lim Guan Eng would not mind allocating a few million from his burgeoning state coffers to free his own Penang people from traffic jams. With a more than RM500 million budget surplus, Penang can definitely afford to pay Penangites to take the bus.
In a few short years, as the island develops and grows at an exponential pace, this Unesco world heritage site would certainly benefit from a state government free bus system. That is, of course, assuming all that reclamation and development in Georgetown will not jeopardise Penang's world heritage status.
YB Liew should also consider writing another thesis to compare Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s with CM Lim Guan Eng's construction mania in Penang. Many parallels can be drawn between these two politicians when it comes to grandiose infrastructure projects.
In an address to a DAP national retreat earlier this year, YB Liew Chin Tong said that MCA, Gerakan and MIC have been dead since 2005 and arrogantly urged the electorate not to wake them up. It is obvious that he dreams of the destruction of the MCA so that one day he can take his place as the transport minister of Malaysia.
My bigger fear is that even if MCA, MIC and Gerakan were to be totally obliterated at the polls, YB Liew Chin Tong will still not fulfill his dream to be the transport minister. Because far worse would have happened to race relations in Malaysia by then.

KONG LEN WEI is a councillor of the Manjung Municipal Council and chairperson, Perak MCA Youth Young Professionals Bureau.- Mkini

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