- Updated with information about the CEO & COO of SPAD!
- Updated with information about the candidates for SPAD and a poll for you to respond to!
Mohamad Nur tipped to be SPAD head (The Star)
17 May 2010
Transport Ministry special adviser Mohamad Nur Kamal is tipped to be appointed chief executive officer of the Public Land Transport Commission (SPAD).
Its chief operating officer is expected to be Shahril Mokhtar who was formerly RapidKL’s corporate planning and strategy general manager, said sources.
TRANSIT has also heard that Prime Minister Najib will be the Minister-in-Charge of SPAD, contradicting earlier claims about who would be in charge, as mentioned below.
The target date for the official launching of SPAD is 1 June 2010-interestingly enough, 1 June is also the 125th anniversary of KTMB.
TRANSIT took note of a very interesting article in the newspapers, which have collated nicely with some rumours that we were hearing about the future of SPAD, the Land Public Transport Commission.
For those of you who do not know, SPAD will have a commission with between 11 and 13 members – one of whom would be the Chair. Since SPAD is also placed within the Economic Planning Unit, there would be a “Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department” tasked with responsibility for SPAD.
Mohd. Nazri Abdul Aziz, currently the Minister responsible for the CVLB (Peninsular Malaysia) has identified himself as the Minister responsible, and so has Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department S.K. Devamany.
Sources are also saying that Tenggara MP Halimah Sadique, current Chair of the CVLB in Peninsular Malaysia, is angling for the position of Chair of SPAD, which appears to have been confirmed in the article below.
Many public transport operators disagree, and argue the that transport industry has been under the thumb of political interests and should be run by industry players. They also suggest that Prime Minister Najib should be responsible for SPAD.
TRANSIT disagrees with the idea that the presence of politicians would be detrimental to SPAD. But we recognize that not all politicians are created equal – and the Chairmanship of SPAD should be given to a politician who has proven himself or herself capable of bringing Malaysia’s transport industry into the 21st century.
We can think of only two names for the job – Johor Baru MP Shahrir Abdul Samad as Chairman of SPAD, reporting directly to Prime Minister and Pekan MP Najib Razak, as the Minister responsible.
For the moment though, please read the article so you know more about the issue:
Public transport operators want industry players and NGO reps instead (The Star)
10 May 2010
PETALING JAYA: Public transport operators do not want politicians to be involved in the Land Public Transport Commission.
They said if politicians or political appointees controlled the commission, things could end up being “business as usual” and the improvements which the new panel was supposed to bring in would not take place.
They also felt it was important for commissioners to comprise largely industry players and representatives from transportation non-governmental organisations.
Civil servants and political appointees should be represented but not be in control.
The concerns came after Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz introduced himself as the person appointed by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to oversee the commission at Thursday’s briefing.
Many players prefer the Prime Minister to directly oversee the commission.
Industry sources said Nazri, who currently oversees the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB), was backing the board’s chairman Datuk Halimah Sadique, who is also Tenggara MP, to be the new commission’s chairman.
[TRANSIT: MP Nazri and MP Halimah are qualified candidates but they should not be present in SPAD – simply because we need leaders with a totally new approach to public transport]
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk S.K. Devamany had also thrown his name into the hat when he told an English daily in December that the commission would fall under his purview.
[TRANSIT: Deputy Minister S.K. Devamany (Cameron Highlands) was the MP who introduced the SPAD bill into Parliament. Given the current state of politics in Malaysia, it is possible that S.K. Devamany might be elevated to a full Minister’s position as a ‘reward’ for MIC for the recent by-election victory – allowing Kamalanathan to receive the Deputy Minister’s positi….. wait, since when did we start discussing communal and race politics on our public transport page?]
Taxi, Limousine and Hired Car Drivers and Operators Association vice-president Mohd Syahir Abdul Aziz said politicians, including the minister-in-charge of the commission, should not be allowed to interfere with the operations and only occupy himself with policy-related matters.
“For the commission to work, it must be free of political interference, just like the operations of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
[TRANSIT: And the MACC is working sooooo well? Uh oh. Er…no comment]
“Otherwise, the public transportation industry cannot develop. There will be no continuity.
“Every time there is a Cabinet reshuffle, the direction changes in line with the new minister,” he said, adding that commission members must have industry expertise and not just be representatives from licensing and enforcement agencies.
“You can have one person from CVLB and one from the Road Transport Department (JPJ), and that’s enough,” said Mohd Syahir, who attended the briefing along with some 50 public transport and commercial transportation operators.
[TRANSIT: We didn’t even know about the briefing. Maybe they forgot to invite us?Hey, SPAD, don’t forget us NGOs!]
Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association president Datuk Ashfar Ali said the commission should consist of those with genuine knowledge of transportation issues.
However, Federal Territory and Selangor Taxi Operators Association president Datuk Aslah Abdullah said Nazri could be the right person to oversee the commission.
“If we expect the Prime Minister to do everything, he will collapse from exhaustion,” he said.
For the moment, we will reserve comment until we get some feedback and wait for the issue to rise up a little bit. In fact, while we were constructing this post the Transport Worker’s Union has already commented, and there is also an article in The Malay Mail quoting Nazri and S.K. Devamany announcing their roles.
At the moment there are two positions up for grabs – Minister-in-Charge of SPAD and Chair of SPAD. Traditionally, both of these positions go to MPs, but the argument is that the Chair of SPAD should not be a politician.
Let’s look at the list of candidates, shall we?
- Najib Razak – As Prime Minister, he has introduced the NKRA for public transport, used public transport twice, and is popular with the public – he also has a very strong social networking presence on twitter and facebook. It is worth noting that many bus manufacturers have located themselves in Pekan, his Parliamentary seat. Most importantly, as Finance Minister and Minister-in-Charge of SPAD, he can weave the different stakeholders in the public transport industry
- Ong Tee Keat – as Minister of Transport, he was tasked with being the spokesperson for the NKRA on public transport. He is a popular figure and accessible through social networking. However, he faces significant challenges in the MCA (he lost the presidency recently). Also, there have been allegations that he likes to make announcements before decisions have been made, and that he overpaid for recent train purchases.
- Nazri Abdul Aziz – the current Minister in Charge of the CVLB has been a ‘de facto’ Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for many years. This is his second time responsible for the CVLB. Nazri is popular with the media but fiercely independent and would not hesitate to argue for better public transport – if that is what he wants. Allegations that he profits from the ownership of 5000 taxi permits (dating back to his first time in charge of the CVLB) will continue to haunt him
For Chair of SPAD:
- Shahrir Abdul Samad, MP for Johor Baru was chair of the BN Backbencher’s Club before he resigned over the use of the Parliamentary whip. He was made Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, presiding over the largest increase in petrol prices in Malaysia history (a decision not made by him). He has attempted to use public transport at least once or twice. He is also popular among MPs and government and NGOs for his consultative approach
- S.K. Devamany, MP for Cameron Highlands, is a young MP who has proven himself willing to call the government on its errors. His presence in Parliament during debates for SPAD show that he is dedicated to the task. He could be Chair of SPAD or Minister-in-Charge.
- Halimah Sadique, MP for Tenggara, is the present Chair of the CVLB and is gunning hard for the Chairmanship of SPAD – she is a tough MP who has worked to reign in out-of-control taxi drivers and bus operators, ‘rediscovering’ some of the authority that the CVLB forgot it has – however, she is an ‘old-school’ MP who believes that things can best be handled from Putrajaya.
- Nadzmi Salleh, current Chair of Proton, was formerly the Chair of Konsortium Transnasional Berhad (KTB), Malaysia’s largest public transport operator. Putting him in charge of SPAD would be seen by many as clear indication of support for operators, but Nadzmi’s no-nonsense approach would see him through many of the debates and infighting.
So there are your candidates – please vote below.