Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib visited the Masjid Jamek/Masjid India area of Kuala Lumpur today to carry out another of his turun padang + photo opportunity weekends.
His visit to the area was notable for his use of the LRT and was published in the NST and the Star Newspaper (below):
KUALA LUMPUR: Three weeks after Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak went down to the ground to visit three localities in the heart of the city, the prime minister Saturday sprung another surprise when he went on a walkabout at the bustling Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (Jalan TAR) and Puduraya here.
However, he was not happy with the traffic congestion and the inefficiency of the public facilities during his one-hour inspection, according to Federal Territory Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.
Najib, who was dressed casually in a brown shirt and beige pants, arrived at Jalan TAR, near Semua House at 3.20pm, accompanied by Raja Nong Chik, his deputy Datuk M. Saravanan and Kuala Lumpur city mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail.
At Jalan TAR, which is famed for its textiles and jewellery shops, Najib was briefed by Ahmad Fuad about a proposed multi-storey carpark to be located near Semua House, and other upgrading plans for the area.
He then spent about 30 minutes walking along the street where he also stopped to chat with the business people and the public there.
Later, he hitched a ride on the crowded LRT (he had to stand) from Masjid Jamek station to the Plaza Rakyat station where he walked to the infamous ever congested Puduraya where the express bus terminal for the northern and southern zones is located.
While it is nice to see the Prime Minister of Malaysia taking a look at what public transport is like, it would be better if Dato’ Seri Najib took a look at the congestion and problems related to the bus service.
If only he walked a little further to Lebuh Ampang, where he could see the bus congestion there, or Jalan Tun H.S. Lee where the Metrobuses are treating the area like their very own parking garage. Perhaps he could have walked a little further to the Pasar Seni LRT station, which is also the site of Pasarama Kota, the “Klang Bus Stand” and the unofficial “Seremban bus stand”.
If Dato’ Seri Najib had taken a look at these areas, then perhaps he would have a better understanding what is wrong with public transport.
One wonders what Dato’ Seri Najib was thinking when he walked by the Masjid Jamek Plaza, a costly structure that took too long to built and has done little to improve the connections between the two LRT lines. Perhaps he wondered why the LRT had no lift, or why he would have to go all the way down to Jalan Tun Perak and cross that very busy road if he wanted to access the other platform. Perhaps he was a little unhappy because he had to stand on a Saturday. Or perhaps he was happy to see people using public transport.
It is likely that we will never know what Dato’ Seri Najib was thinking. We can only hope that the visit gives him a better understanding of public transport – and that he takes a real visit to see what the bus facilities are like in this country.
KL Sentral, Puduraya, Pasarama Kota would all be great places to start.
And the members of TRANSIT would be happy to be there and point out these issues to him.