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SPAD has new permit system on the way … re-register by 31 December 2011 or the party is over.

TRANSIT took note of the following article, which is a final update on the permit re-registration process that SPAD has undertaken in Peninsular Malaysia since the beginning of April 2011.

The window for the permit re-registration was from April until 30 September 2011, but many people did not re-register in time.

SPAD is now saying that all permits that have not been re-registered with SPAD as of 31 December 2011 will be revoked (hopefully as of 1 January 2012).

Register or lose licence, warns SPAD (The Star)
15 December 2011


PETALING JAYA: The licences of public and commercial vehicles which have not been re-registered with the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) by Dec 31 will be revoked.

SPAD chief operating officer Azahar Ahmad said the owners and operators of the vehicles will then have to re-apply all over again.

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Should we prepare for a school bus showdown? Or is there a solution on the way?

TRANSIT took note of this issue a few weeks ago and had not managed to comment on it until today.

School buses are a significant form of public transport in Malaysia. Unlike urban buses, school buses are in many cases still operated by individual permit owner-operators, the local “bus uncle” or “bus auntie”. Given that Malaysian cities are largely spread out & many roads in urban areas are not safe for walking or cycling on, it is no surprise that children from preschool-university age spend a great deal of time on school buses.

Do you understand what this means, ladies & gentlemen? These school bus drivers are independent and they have access to your children.

But don’t worry – this is not a post to scare people – just to remind them that sometimes the best laid plans of mice & men (and SPAD) hardly ever work out.

NEW LEASE OF LIFE: Second-hand school buses may return to the road for another 10 years. Image courtesy of The Malay Mail.

One more year: SPAD to give operators 12 months to offload their 30-year-old vehicles (The Malay Mail)
Monday, September 5th, 2011

SCHOOL bus operators will be given a year to replace their vehicles which are more than 30 years old when the lifespan ruling is implemented.

The grace period, however, will only be allowed if the old buses pass Puspakom safety checks.

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Interesting FMT interview with SPAD chair Syed Hamid Albar (Update #1)

Updated with comments from TRANSIT!

TRANSIT has taken note of a series of articles in Free Malaysia Today, detailing an interview with SPAD Chair Syed Hamid Albar.

TRANSIT will reserve our comments until the entire series is posted. In the meantime you can find links to the articles (3 at the time of this posting) after the jump:

Update: TRANSIT had reserved our comments and then got so busy we didn’t have time to make these comments. But we are ready now!

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So CVLB left a mess behind for SPAD. Should we act surprised? (Update #1)

IMPORTANT: If you are a commercial vehicle permit owner, you need to re-register your permit with the Land Public Transport Commission before 1 September 2011. See the relevant information here (from the SPAD website) or scroll down to the bottom of this post!

Update: Responses from TRANSIT and SPAD on the issue of the re-registration exercise have been published. Scroll down to the end for more information!

TRANSIT took note of this very interesting article in the Malay Mail, detailing some of the challenges faced by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) upon taking over from the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board since 1 January 2011.

CVLB was created by the CVLB Act 1987. Between 1 January 1988 and 31 December 2010 CVLB had the exclusive authority for road-based commercial transport (freight, public transport and commercial vehicles) in Malaysia – with the exception of Tourism vehicles (which were under the Tourism Ministry). Today, the CVLB is only responsible for Sabah & Sarawak.

SPAD, as you know, was “created” by the SPAD Act (Gazetted 1 June 2010), became an “official” government agency on 1 September 2010 and gained full authority over land public transport in Peninsular Malaysia on 1 January 2011.

Messy legacy: Land transport supremo ‘inherits’ problem-ridden CVLB (Malay Mail)
Shahrim Tamrin
Thursday, May 26th, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: In a move to establish a comprehensive database for commercial vehicles and operators, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) will face a daunting task with its re-registration exercise for transport operators.

They now have to start from scratch to build up its database of 87,705 operators managing more than 350,000 commercial vehicles, mostly due to poor record-keeping and management practices by the former Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB).

Sources claimed commission officers, who took over the licensing board on Jan 31, were shocked when they discovered the state of the record-keeping.

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SPAD re-registering of commercial vehicles continues

TRANSIT took note of these two articles discussing SPAD’s plan to re-register all 350,000 commercial vehicle operators in Peninsular Malaysia.

In the past, these commercial vehicle operators were either registered with the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (public transport/public service and freight vehicles) and the Tourism Ministry (Excursion buses).

Now that SPAD has taken over the responsibility for land transport in Peninsular Malaysia, there is a need to streamline the permits and determine how many of the individual companies & operators still exist.

SPAD will also be shifting from a “vehicle based” permit system to an “operator-based system” – which will lift some of the existing limitations on bus routes (permits are granted for 1 bus on 1 route with 1 driver and route endpoints are currently fixed by the government) which can affect operational flexibility.

More importantly, it will help to reduce the number of permits given out to unregistered “operators” under the existing illegal “Pajak” system that many permit owners use.

SPAD’s chief executive officer Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal said the re-registration of the estimated 350,000 vehicles in peninsular Malaysia would regulate and make for a better industry.

“The ultimate objective of the exercise is to better regulate the industry and to improve the nation’s land transport for the benefit of the people,” he said.

He said the exercise would enable SPAD to identify the current status of licencees and identify inactive and “problematic” operators.

“The data will later be used for the process of migrating all licences to operator-based licences from the current vehicle-based system,” he added.


SPAD is ready to take on the public transport industry. There will definitely be interesting times ahead.


Nazri: Land Public Transport Commission to start 1 June 2010

TRANSIT notes this article in The Sun, in which Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz gives details about the proposed Suruhanjaya Pengnagkutan Awam Darat or Land Public Transport Commission [TRANSIT: Public Land Transport Commission, which sounds better].

Nazri: Land Public Transport Commission to start June 1 (The Sun)

Husna Yusop

PUTRAJAYA ( Jan 21, 2010) : The new Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), whose establishment was announced during the 2010 Budget last year, will be operational on June 1, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz. Image courtesy of The Sun

Set up as a single authority to monitor and enforce service standards in providing a long-term plan for urban public transport, SPAD will take over the tasks of the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) in Peninsular Malaysia.

“The process now is at the level of looking at the draft of the bill. The draft will be brought to the cabinet as a memorandum next month and will be tabled in Dewan Rakyat in the coming session.

“Once SPAD is set up, the Peninsula CVLB will be closed. So, we will have a new commission to handle all these,” he told a press conference after delivering his new year message to CVLB staff here today

Nazri said all land public transport will come under SPAD which will be placed under the Prime Minister’s Department.

In his speech, he said in 2009, CVLB has shown consistent performance in processing applications for licences.

“The number of applications processed last year was 109,897. Of this, 18,881 were new applications, 44,442 renewals and 46,574 were for changing licensing conditions,” he said, adding it showed the efficiency of CVLB staff.

He reminded them of the decision early this month to make it compulsory for express bus companies to fully implement the Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Code under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

“I want for this code of practice to be used fully by CVLB so that 2010 will become a year free from any safety issues and road accidents,” he added.

He also reiterated that outdated laws must be revised to suit the present situation and needs and this includes amending the CVLB Act to increase the penalty for bus drivers involved in accidents from RM300 to RM500,000.

He also said suspension of company operations or bus driver’s licence is not the solution to road transport woes as it would only do more harm to the company and its workers.

“During our discussions with industry players and operators, I was made to understand that they prefer paying a huge fine rather than having to go through suspension.

“I think it is only fair, because suspending operations is not the way,” he added.


We have been waiting for so long! The creation of the SPAD is going to be the first (among many) steps in resolving the problems that exist in public transport in Malaysia.

But of course there are many more steps that have to be taken – and most importantly, the public must be given a chance to be involved by working with SPAD and the Local Public Transport Councils to make the operation of public transport much more effective.

TRANSIT will apply for an opportunity to review the Draft SPAD Act when it is presented to Parliament in March 2010. And we expect that the SPAD will be monitored by a Parliamentary Select Committee for Land Transport.

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Comments on the Auditor General’s 2008 Report

In line with the controversy about the recent Auditor General’s 2008 Report, TRANSIT provides you with these statements:

1. Klang MP Charles Santiago comments on the cost overrun in the Rawang-Ipoh Double Tracking and Electrification Project

Press Statement by Member of Parliament Klang Charles Santiago in Parliament on 2nd Nov 2009

Whatever happened to accountability? We thought the Port Klang Free Trade Zone (PKFZ) scandal was the last of the financial fraud running into billions of ringgit. Now, the Auditor General’s report has indicated that there was a major over run to the tune of more than RM 1.3 billion in the 179 km rail double tracking project between Rawang – Ipoh.

That is not the end of the story. Instead it’s a tale of grand sweep as it involves the Chief Judge of the country, Zaki Tun Azmi. He is the Chairman and biggest shareholder in Emrail Sdn Bhd, one of the contractors involved in the project. Zaki was appointed to the top judicial position on 21st October, 2008.

Zaki, also well known as an UMNO lawyer, was still speaking on behalf of Emrail on 21st April 2007. Subsequently he was appointed as the Federal Court judge on 5th Sept 2007 and made the Chief Judge on 21st Oct 2008.

He was quoted by Bernama saying, “We have completed the Rawang-Ipoh project to the satisfaction of the government. Bearing in mind that Emrail is the only Bumiputera-owned tracking company in Malaysia, we hope the government will consider us for tracking jobs for the Ipoh-Padang Besar as well as Seremban-Gemas projects,”.

According to the Auditor General’s report for 2009, Emrail Sdn Bhd was the most inefficient of the four subcontractors as it completed only 56.9 percent of the project given the deadline of 10th Dec 2003.

The government might now have to absorb part of the RM 1.14 billion loss brought about by delays in implementation, not keeping to the standards imposed in the infrastructural development leading to the infrastructure not being fully optimised and the procurement of extra equipment and coaches.

We have the assurance from Chairman of the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Azmi Khalid, that the body would investigate the Transport Minister and contractors involved in this financial mess.

Before the PAC starts its investigations, the public need to be informed of the people who are involved in this project. Allocations made to the contractors, names of politicians involved, terms in which contracts were awarded and concrete reasons for the delay must be made public.

The Transport Ministry and government are in a limbo as the project has been warped with irregularities since its inception. The dual tracking system, which was supposed to be completed in 2002, was pushed back till 2007.

Without a doubt we could conclude that the double tracking project joins the ranks of PKFZ as another mega financial scandal prompted by greed, cronyism, sophisticated potpourri of business and politics and devastating mismanagement.

Both mega projects have already cost the nation approximately RM14 billion or every Malaysian, RM 520. This does not include losses due to direct negotiations of contracts estimated at RM 28 billion as revealed by a Star newspaper probe.

Stern action and corresponding punishment is desperately needed to regain the confidence of the public and investors.

Hoping that problems would disappear if they are ignored long enough would simply not work, anymore.

Therefore, I urge the PAC in its meeting next week to support Auditor General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang suggestion that the Transport Ministry fine DRB-Hicom Bhd RM80.88 million (RM164,727 a day) for its failure to complete the Rawang-Ipoh electrified double tracking project on time

Furthermore, I urge the PAC Chairman to summon Zaki, former Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy, as well as DRB-Hicom and its subcontractors to give explanations to the Parliament. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should focus its effort in investigating the scandalous federal leakage that rather than scheme with UMNO politicians to overthrow the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government.

Charles Santiago
Member of Parliament, Klang
016 626 7797

2. Moaz Yusuf Ahmad from TRANSIT comments on Prasarana’s past procurement of buses and upcoming 400 buses.

Prasarana’s bus tender process needs to be more open

The Association for the Improvement of Mass-Transit (Transit) notes that public transport holding company Prasarana (Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad) has placed a tender announcement for the purchase of 400 chassis for new CKD (completely knocked-down) buses to be operated on by their subsidiary RapidKL Sdn Bhd.

The tender announcement read as follows:

‘Manufacture, supply, delivery, testing, commissioning, warranty, repair and maintenance of four hundred (400) units of twelve (12) metre completely knocked-down (CKD) diesel city buses for RapidKL’

At present, we do not know if the tender for 400 CKD buses (specifically for their chassis) is for an expansion of services or a replacement for some of the buses that were purchased for RapidKL between 2005-2009.

In any case, the timing of the tender is interesting, given the release of the Auditor-General’s 2008 Report which found problems with the purchase of RapidKL buses in 2007-2008 that were of low quality.

We are also concerned because these low-quality buses were purchased to replace buses (operated by IntraKota) that were scrapped (left to rot?) by Prasarana in 2005-2006.

In addition, it appears that Scomi Coach Sdn Bhd quietly received a contract to refurbish some of the China-made buses. This issue was profiled by the local media, bloggers and even by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

According to a statement on Prasarana’s website, these former IntraKota buses were incapable of being salvaged when they were turned over to Prasarana.

We at Transit expect that buses should be able to last at least 10-12 years without requiring significant maintenance or overhaul. The fact that Prasarana has sent buses less than five years old to the scrap heap already, and may do so again in the near future, is of great concern to us.

We also find it especially interesting that, according to an industry source, the tender was actually called earlier this year (we do not know which company was successful) and the tender announcement last week is actually a ‘surprise’ re-tender!

In light of the Auditor-General’s 2008 Report, the concerns about the procurement of buses and bus depots, issues with the interior design of the RapidKL buses, and the announcement of the 2010 budget, the Association for the Improvement of Mass-Transit (Transit) calls on Prasarana to open up the tender process for greater scrutiny from the public, the Auditor-General’s Office and interested ‘wakil rakyat’.

We also believe that it is vital to have feedback from public transport users on the design and interior features of buses. The end user must be consulted about seat design, handholds, accessibility features (including audio and visual announcements) and other features of the buses.

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The Auditor General’s Report 2008 (Update #3)

  • Update #3 – Public Accounts Committee to investigate KTMB Double tracking project
  • Update #2 – Updated with new articles!

TRANSIT takes note of the Auditor General’s Report for 2008, which details issues related to government spending and procurement.

This year, there were three specific mentions of public transport that you should be aware of:

1. The Terengganu government was criticized for their RM10.5 million purchase of 26 buses for the creation of the Rapid Terengganu bus service. [TRANSIT: We criticized them too]

2. Prasarana was criticized for a number of issues including:

  • Losses at KL Infrastructure Group (in the take over of the KL monorail);
  • Liabilities at RapidKL, which was described as incapable of taking care of the cost of maintaining the buses and rail (routine preventive, predictive, overhaul and refurbishment works) that it is responsible for;
  • Issues with the purchase of buses by Prasarana and the quality of those buses;
  • Accumulated losses of RM 839 million from 2005-2007
Graphic of Prasarana corporate structure and issues named in the Auditor Generals Report 2008. Graphic is courtesy of The Star
Graphic of Prasarana corporate structure and issues named in the Auditor General's Report 2008. Graphic is courtesy of The Star

[TRANSIT: Please note that the graphic above which was produced in the Star may not reflect the current structure of Prasarana’s holdings. We understand that Prasarana has merged with the RapidKL branch and that RapidKL Sdn. Bhd. and RapidPenang Sdn. Bhd. are equally subsidiaries of Prasarana. However, this is to be confirmed]


Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (Prasarana) is wholly owned by the Government with a paid up capital of RM3.80 billion. The company is responsible to manage the infrastructure of public transportation in Klang Valley and Penang. As at 31 December 2008, Prasarana had issued 8 bonds totalling RM8.47 billion to finance its activities.

The audit revealed that the financial performance and management activities of Prasarana were not satisfactory. It had incurred losses from the year 2005 to 2007 and the accumulated losses as at 31 December 2007 was RM839.81 million. Due to poor cash flow, it is not possible for Prasarana to redeem the balance of the issued bond amounting to RM7.10 billion. In addition, the management of its activities especially procurements, write-offs and record keeping of assets were not satisfactory and key performance indicators were not established. In this regard, the Board of Directors and the management of Prasarana as well as the Ministry of Finance should consider the following matters:

  • The Board should ensure that Prasarana has the mechanism to monitor the status of assets being used by its operator to ensure that assets are properly maintained and not exposed to the risk of being lost and misused.
  • The management should re-examine the role of RapidKL as the bus and Light Rail Transit operator as well as to determine alternative propositions as a long term plan. This is due to the increasing critical financial position of Prasarana to bear the cost of maintenance of buses and rails amounting to RM10.50 million which should have been borne by RapidKL.
  • The Board should ensure that Prasarana’s subsidiaries comply with Government circulars as the Government does have interest in these subsidiaries. The Board should also closely monitor the performance of such subsidiaries to ensure that they operate efficiently and in consistence with their objectives. For dormant subsidiaries, the Board should determine a suitable business plan and if these subsidiaries are not required any more, then steps should be taken to wind them up.
  • The Ministry of Finance should closely monitor Prasarana to ensure its finance is being managed efficiently and prudently in order to improve its cash flow and consequently being able to redeem its issued bonds.
  • The Ministry of Finance should state clearly the requirement of Prasarana to abide to the conditions of procurement through direct negotiation as stated in its approval letter. In addition, the Ministry of Finance should forbid its officers from approving any procurement relating to a company if he/she is a member of the Board of that company. This is to avoid any conflict of interest.
  • The Ministry of Finance should establish an indicator specifically to be used as a basis for bonus payments for companies having social commitments such as Prasarana

3. The Ministry of Transport was criticized for poor management of the Electrified Double Tracking Project between Rawang and Ipoh, including cost overruns, delays in the project and not procuring the trains in time.


Electrified Double Track Project Between Rawang And Ipoh

The Electrified Double Track Project Between Rawang And Ipoh was implemented at a cost of RM5.77 billion through 2 packages namely the Infrastructure Package and System Package. The main contractor for the Infrastructure Package is DRB-Hicom Berhad (DRB-Hicom) while Mitsui-MTS Konsortium (Mitsui) is the contractor for the System Package. The audit revealed the objective of the project was not fully achieved due to several weaknesses such as delay in project completion that resulted in an estimated cost overrun of RM1.43 billion, procurement of excess equipments and noncoordination of train procurement with infrastructure development. In addition, there is possibility of the Government bearing part of the losses estimated at RM1.14 billion. This is due to a maximum liability of RM257.99 million that could be claimed from the contractor as stipulated in terms and conditions of the contract between DRB-Hicom (original contractor) and the Government. To ensure Government gets value for money and also to prevent the recurrence of the same weaknesses in other projects, it is recommended that the Ministry of Transport (Ministry), Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) and related central agencies consider the following matters:

  • The Ministry should impose penalties amounting to RM80.88 million (per day) on DRB-Hicom for failing to complete the project on time.
  • Five sets of Automatic Fare Collection System which are still kept in the store should be distributed to commuter stations that require them to avoid wastage.
  • The Ministry/KTMB should ensure all defects are rectified by contractors during the Defects Liability Period so that the Government will not incur additional cost for repairs.
  • Procurements of related equipments and facilities should be synchronized with the infrastructure and system development. In this regard, equipments and facilities should be procured when the progress of construction work achieved 80% so that the infrastructure could be fully utilised upon completion.
  • As stipulated in terms and conditions of the contract, the Ministry should report to the Ministry of Finance to terminate the service of the project manager who failed to perform.
  • Central Agencies should allocate sufficient funds to procure equipments/facilitiesthat are components of the project to enable a completed project to function according to plan.


As you might imagine…when someone says “don’t worry” we start to worry. So please, bear with us as we put our comments together and try to unravel some of the issues in the Ministry of Transport, Government of Terengganu and Prasarana.

More information can be found at these sources: