Some of our readers may have heard of the phrase “to go legit'” (legitimate).
One might think that the phrase “to go legit” refers to when criminal concerns (you know, mafia, gangsters, politicians) attempt to exit their life of “crime” and find legitimate ways to earn money. In some cases, to “go legit” actually refers to the laundering of money – investing the proceeds of criminal activity into non-criminal activity, in the hope of increasing the value of their wealth.
In this particular case we use the phrase “go legit” because it nicely describes the new attempt to help the questionable Melaka Tram project to find some sort of resolution with SPAD, within the confines of Malaysian Law.
Those who have followed our website know we have expressed our admiration for the enthusiasm of Melaka Chief Minister Mohd. Ali Rustam, but questioned his advisers for giving him poor advice on public transport.
The succession of incomplete or ineffective public transport “solutions” (like the monorail and the Aerorail) mooted by the CM have not inspired confidence. But TRANSIT has seen the improvements (even though we have serious questions about the Melaka Tram).
And so we wonder if Ali Rustam & Melaka public transport are “gonna make it” and that it “might work out fine this time.”
[TRANSIT: In case you were wondering, the quotes above refer to lyrics from a song, All Right by Christoper Cross]
Rail transport to ease congestion (The Star)
Thursday July 21, 2011
MALACCA: The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has proposed a rail link to address the state’s infamous traffic congestion.
SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said a high volume of vehicles entering the city contributed to the bottleneck in the tourist city.
“We will look at a rail transport system and whether the Malacca government is interested in implementing a tram system to be developed through a privatised project,” he said at the launch of SMK Hang Kasturi’s Patriotism Month celebrations at Masjid Tanah on Monday.
[TRANSIT: In a conversation with Syed Hamid Albar through his twitter feed (@syedhamidalbar) he indicated that the Melaka Government will apply for conditional approval of the Melaka Tram project under the Land Public Transport Act (Akta Pengangkutan Awam Darat or PAD Act.]
Syed Hamid, who is also the MP for Kota Tinggi, said public transport such as bus and taxi services here also need to be enhanced to encourage locals and tourists to use the mode of transports within the city
“Malacca’s traffic congestion is worsening, sometime it consumes much time to reach the tourist destinations here due to bottlenecks,” he said, adding that the situation may further worsen with the influx of tourists where the figure anticipated to hit 11 million this year.
He added that the planned rail transport system for Malacca could be emulate the same system implemented by United Kingdom to develop their public transportation structure.
“We could share United Kingdoms experience in laying an effective rail system to address such traffic congestions.
[TRANSIT: We have to wonder what Syed Hamid is getting at here. Could this be the mooting of a congestion charge for the UNESCO Heritage Zone? Perhaps they can talk about building pedestrian-friendly and cycling-friendly environments first. After all, Mohd. Ali Rustam is enthusiastic about cycling too!]
“Furthermore, SPAD and United Kingdom Government had sealed an agreement with an objective to spearhead the availability of rail system in major towns and cities in Malaysia such as My Rapid Transit (MRT),” he added.
So there you have it, dear reader. The Melaka government will apply through the PAD Act for conditional approval for the Melaka Tram project. There will be a 3-months long public display and the public will get their opportunity to give feedback. Following this, if approval is granted by the Minister of Transport, construction may start (or continue, since there are some allegations that construction has already started).
Readers should also be familiar thoughts about the Melaka Tram project including the technology used, the claimed cost per km, the skills of the project manager (which has no experience actually building any rail project), the “approval” from the Department of Railways, and the selection of SAAG Consolidated for the project (through what appears to be direct negotiation).
So yeah, we are still worried about the project but we hope (expect) that SPAD will turn the project around properly, make sure that everything is legal and legitimate, and ensure that the project meets the expectations of the PAD Act and of course, the expectations of the public.
That means a realistic plan, proper public display & public consultation, strong cost benefit analysis, and if the project goes ahead, the selection of legitimate companies through open & transparent means.
And yes, we want MRails out of the picture because we have no confidence in their ability to manage a project like this – since they have no public transport or railway experience whatsoever.
Who knows, perhaps the Melaka Tram will be the first modern tramway to be built in Malaysia – or possibly the second, considering the construction of the Iskandar Financial Centre at Medini, (which will incorporate a tram) is ongoing.