TRANSIT took note of this very interesting and disappointing bit of news – that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, who has a history of involvement with public transport in Malaysia, is now trying to get himself involved in the MRT project.
Nazri has suggested an alternative alignment to the controversial “best alignment” for the railway scheme as proposed by Prasarana & SPAD. He also claims that “I know the Prime Minister.”
But Nazri needs to realize that the public, and TRANSIT, know him. We know him as the minister in charge of the Entrepreneur & Cooperatives Development Ministry when the CVLB was a part of it. We know him as the person accused of allegedly profiting from thousands of taxi permits (apparently this was never successfully resolved either way). We know him as the minister who, when once again put in charge of the CVLB, presided over a 30% increase in bus fares as well as the end of RapidKL’s “daily passes” … and promised that better service from the bus companies would result.
We also know him as the Minister who lobbied to be placed in charge of SPAD, with CVLB Director Halimah Sadique as a proxy.
Now he wants to get involved in the MRT project? Yes Minister Nazri … you know the Prime Minister but TRANSIT and the public know you.
Nazri to meet PM over MRT land acquisition (The Star)
21 September 2011
KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz (pic)will meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today over the acquisition of land for the Sungai Buloh-Kajang line of the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT).
The parcel of land involves Jalan Sultan and Jalan Bukit Bintang here.
Several property owners, historians and Chinese cultural activists had objected to the acquisition of the land in Jalan Sultan for the project, saying it would involve tearing down century-old heritage buildings.
Nazri said he would also hold discussions with Syarikat Prasarana Sdn Bhd, which was undertaking the project, to consider several matters including an alternative route before any acquisition.
Nazri, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, spoke to reporters yesterday after a dialogue with the Federation of Chinese Associations of Malaysia (Hua Zong) over the matter.
He said Pandan MP Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat had shown him an alternative route for the MRT which bypassed the area designated for the land acquisition. – Bernama
For those who are interested, there is also this article, Nazri to lobby PM for MRT realignment (The Malaysian Insider, 20 September 2011).
Now, on the subject of alternative alignments, let us once again restate that we have always had a problem with the provisions in the Railways Act (and successor PAD Act) with respect to planning a railway. We felt that these provisions were out of date and better suited to planning a freight railway through rural areas (which is effectively what FMSR/MR/KTM/KTMB was created for) as compared to an urban mass transit system. The big problem is that the Railways Act & PAD Act only require the “final” alignment to be shared with the government & the public – making public consultation a near impossibility.
Now, on Nazri’s involvement, we have to say the following:
Nazri, with all due respect, your presence in this issue is not welcome.
You had your chances to improve public transport twice, and you failed spectacularly, both times. The Prime Minister rejected you as the Minister in charge of SPAD. The law (SPAD Act) says SPAD is in charge and SPAD is independent. The only person SPAD reports to is the Prime Minister. You are not the Prime Minister.
Be magnanimous and don’t try to get involved.