TRANSIT took note of the following article in the Business Times, which details the changes in Prasarana since Idrose Mohamed took over the government-owned company. We will tell you what we think about Idrose’s nearly 2 years in charge of Prasarana – but read the article first.
Prasarana improves under Idrose (Business Times)
15 Sept 2010
by Shareen Kaur
STATE-owned public transport operator Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd has progressed well under the stewardship of its current group managing director (MD) Datuk Idrose Mohamed.
Since taking control of Prasarana on October 1 2008, Idrose has implemented several strategies to spearhead growth in the group and improve the country’s public transportation system.
Prasarana started with its restructuring exercise in January 2009, which saw Rangkaian Pengangkutan Integrasi Deras Sdn Bhd (RapidKL) and its subsidiary Rapid Penang Sdn Bhd become wholly-owned units on July 1 and September 1 respectively.
RapidKL and Prasarana formerly operated as separate companies, even though both were wholly-owned government companies under the Ministry of Finance Inc.
It also improved connectivity by integrating the RapidKL bus services in the Klang Valley with the KL monorail operations. Currently more than 400,000 people use buses, while some 500,000 commute by light-rail transit (LRT).
In September 2009, Prasarana had successfully launched a RM4 billion Islamic bonds or sukuk programme, to raise funds for the RM7 billion LRT extension project of Kelana Jaya and Ampang Lines, of which RM2 billion has been drawn down.
On the line extension project, Prasarana has awarded several sub-contracts for facilities work, worth about RM100 million.
The award of contracts for main lines, system and infrastructure is still pending. It is uncertain if the contracts will be awarded by November this year, as suggested by Idrose.
In June this year, Idrose announced that Prasarana has carried out studies on the Kota Damansara-Cheras Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) system, which includes a proposal to extend the line to Kajang and Sungai Buloh in Selangor.
As you can imagine, we at TRANSIT are keen to know what you think of the past 2 years of Prasarana under Idrose Mohamed.
And since the article has decided to take a look at Prasarana’s prosperity under Idrose Mohamed, TRANSIT thought we could take you back 2 years ago to what was the first National Summit on Urban Public Transport (see the report here) organized by the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (Asli).
TRANSIT was invited to attend and we did. Moaz Yusuf Ahmad sat as a panelist in the main panel discussion with the then Director of the CVLB, Markiman Kobiran as well as Aizi Razman Ismail of the Federal Territories Ministry on Enhancing Public Transport in the Klang Valley.
Also at the Summit was Shaipudin Shah Harun, then Executive Director of Prasarana, who spoke about what Prasarana intended to do to improve public transport – the LRT extensions, new Kota Damansara to Cheras line and the Integrated Transport Terminal.
All of those projects, which were included in the 2009 Budget have started in some form – the Integrated Transport Terminal is close to completion, the LRT extensions have been planned, proposed (and objected to by TRANSIT and members of the public) and are slowly being introduced, and the Kota Damansara to Cheras Line is being planned.
But what was really surprising was that just a few days after the Summit, Shaipudin suddenly resigned from Prasarana, leaving everyone in the public transport industry quite surprised. TRANSIT can imagine that the Ministry of Finance was also quite surprised as well, and they faced a significant challenge in choosing a new Executive Director who could take charge of Prasarana and get things accomlished.
Idrose was definitely the “man for the job” – he had the will power to push through some of the plans that had been sitting for a while such as the physical and financial integration of the LRT lines as well as improvements to customer service.
Along with working on existing proposals, Idrose also introduced other ideas about improving public transport – from extending the Kota Damansara to Cheras line to integrate with the KTM rail at Sg. Buloh and Kajang, to building a more realistically-sized Integrated Transport Terminal at Gombak. It is also because of Idrose that the LRT extensions were to meet up in Putra Heights – a point of disagreement with TRANSIT as we prefer that they meet in Shah Alam.
Idrose also pushed for the realignment of RapidKL and RapidPenang as subsidiaries under the Prasarana umbrella. At the time this was a logical solution to the problems that of leadership that were being faced at RapidKL. However, the streamlining has led to the hollowing out of RapidKL as a company, with key staff and key positions transferred to Prasarana. RapidKL no longer has a CEO, and the existing bus and LRT divisions each have their own COOs, who are board members at Prasarana.
As Idrose approaches 2 years at the helm of Prasarana, there will obviously be questions of how well he can continue to steer the company. As Prasarana grows ever larger, there will be questions about financial management – a persistent issue that has got the attention of the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee. In addition, Idrose will have to deal with the Land Public Transport Commission, which has gone public just this month, as well as existing bus and rail operators in the industry.
TRANSIT has always believed that there is a place for Prasarana in the public transport mix as a government vehicle for investment and planning of public transport. However, we prefer to see RapidKL (and RapidPenang) as independent entities that are separate from Prasarana.
TRANSIT would much rather see RapidKL given the independent responsibility for planning, managing and operating the public transport systems of the Klang Valley, with a similar role for RapidPenang up in Penang.
This would necessitate changes to the structure of both companies, especially to the Board of Directors, which would have to accommodate members of the public, NGO’s, researchers, etc. along with the representatives from Prasarana, the Finance Ministry, Ministry of Transport, SPAD, Economic Planning Unit, the Federal Territories Ministry and local governments.
The best example of this that we can find is of course Transport for London, the quasi-government agency chaired by the Mayor of London, which is responsible for all transport planning within Greater London.
In Malaysia there is the Penang Transport Council which has a diverse collection of members. PTC is slowly working to develop a presence in the State, with a focus on traffic and alternative transport.
TRANSIT believes that if RapidPenang and the Penang Transport Council can get together and start planning together, there would be no end to things that they can accomplish.