Alternative Fuel? Why not Alternative Transport?

Posted by Pierce in BolehLand | 1 Comment

I am writing this because I felt that Malaysian at large is still thinking that Government will lower the price of fuel which in reality is not possible anymore because of the policy that has been set. Being a citizen, I will not go against my Government’s decision, but instead I support the removal of subsidies on fuel. But these savings has been claimed to be used to improve the public transportation system in the country.

Who will eventually benefit from these RM4.4Bil? I would say the politician. But since I am not in politic and I don’t care how many of the politicians owns public transportation company in Malaysia, I could only say that, IMHO, The government other than using this RM 4.4 Bil to boost the public transportation system, should also offset the industries by opening the door to allow imports of technology or even spent on developing (NOT R&D Anymore) technology that will make a car works more fuel economy, Toyota has done these research years and I am sure Perodua has some sort of affiliation with them. Surely they can sell to Perodua the technology to build a hybrid engine which only use 4.5 Litres of petrol for a travel distance of 100 KM (source: Nat-Geo ASTRO Channel 52).

On the other hand, there is still the problem with the laws of Malaysia and some mindset of the people in the country especially some petroleum company saying “does that mean that we are going to earn less?” which will bring in the tax model and heavy duties enforced on the vehicle and made the vehicle unaffordable by the general public. This will bring back to the RM 4.4 bil savings of the Government for 2006 only. (Based on my understanding, if the RM 4.4 bil is not utilised, it will be given back to the government and will be reallocated next year for other use under the standard financial regulations. Thus the RM 4.4 bil contribution might not be totally channelled to public transportation. This is the middle of third month of the year and with 9.5 months to go before the end of the year. There is the when. But has there been the plan on how? The how is one thing and this how can be addressed by professional consultant. What about the where? is the money going to be used totally in KL? Klang Valley? What about the part in for other state? Like Sarawak? how much is Sarawak going to take? What is the measure this committee that has been set up to manage the fund going to use to determind how much a state is going to get? By population? By size? What are the guidelines to each state on the usage of the fund? Infrastructure upgrade?)

In KL, I believed that there are a lot of public transportations available for the general public. Other states…. Well, I welcome those respectable leaders in the cabinet (I wonder why was it called a cabinet? Why something that is a subset of a closet) to come to Kuching, walk down the street with me and wave down a bus at a bus stop. Walk up into the bus and let me pay the RM 0.90 (tambang) and take a journey through 8 stops. By the time you alight from the vehicle, I would guarantee you, you will be without your tie on, your handky will be going through your face repeatedly as it will be sweating a lot. You will feel sticky and dirty. Compare this to your comfortable BMWs, Bentley, Mercedes, Perdana, Lexus, Rolls Rice and my humble Proton Saga 1992. I am thankful that I am fortunate to have my own car here.
This is a Challenge I put up to the members in the Cabinet. I will pay the RM 0.90 (tambang Bas) for you if you come and take a bus ride with me in Kuching.

I consider myself fortunate to be able to survive so far eventhough the increase of standard of living in Kuching has quadruple since I return to Kuching in 1999. I own a car, Proton Saga that I used to travel to work. Often it breaks down due to starter problem. I am still able to afford the fixing of the aged vehicle. But to these bus company, I have seen a lot of buses breaking down. So often that it is a regular event here in Sarawak. If you travel from Kuching to Sri Aman often enough just as what I have to do to bring my wife to visit my in-law there. On every single trip, I have seen buses broken down and parked at the side of the trunk road. For someone making a general salary, I am able to maintain my vehicle. Why these companies not able to maintain their vehicle as what I can? They made more money than me from these buses.

Our road has a max speed of 90 KM/h and millions of potholes. Most of the time, driver can only make 60 KM/h due to poor conditions. Once I travel between Sibu and Bintulu. My! Oh! My! the road is horrible. I believed that the segment of road is maintained by this company called HCM. Though when I called up CMS Road Maintenance on their toll free thinking that all the trunk road in Sarawak was under their care,only to find out that it is the R&R of this HCM and I have no idea who is in HCM at all. Only honest opinion is that the road is so bad that is seems like the road in war zone in the movie. My head hurt after reaching Bintulu.
What I know about transportation system in Sarawakin short. There is no train service in Sarawak. (Yup. These is a Jalan Keretapi but no train at all) Though Sarawak is geographically viable to have train services. The bus fare in Sarawak is more expensive than KL. A trip from Kuching to Sri Aman will cost more than RM 15.00 whereas I believed that it is almost the same distance between Genting and KL which cost less than RM 10.00.

The three bus companies in Kuching are owned by politicians???. Their names are Chin Lian Long (In Chinese is acronym for Kuching Serian and Lundu), Sarawak Transportation Co and Regas Transportation. (sorry, only know its owned by politician and don’t know which one, Didn’t you read the part about me not interested in Politics?) The condition of the buses are: Built by a factory down in Bintawa by a bankrupt guy with two wives from Trucks’ frames and engines, Aluminium sheets rivetting and shakey plus no noise insulation. (With exception Regas which uses vehicle built as buses) Most of them are on no schedule. Some route you have to wait for the bus for more than 2 hours. Not all areas in Kuching are covered by Bus services.
On further looking for alternative transportation, I have put in a question by phone to International Trade on import of Electrical Vehicle, Personal transportation system and etc. I was told by this corky male officer that there is no way for EV to come to Malaysia because it will be in conflict of interest with Malaysia main export income – Petroleum. On the PTS, Segway cannot be imported into Malaysia. Upon further checking with JPJ, they claims that there is no law in Malaysia against PTS on the public road except that PTS are not allow on highway and trunk roads. But since all these info are given via phone, I can only put this as hearsay.

In other country, there are buses or trams that is running on electricity and with the current supplied by overheads just like the LRT in KL. Since bus route is fixed most of the time, why not some of these bus company invest in using EV buses /trams?

Over the hill, there is more than just EV. These is the new 160 years old Hydrogen Fusion engines, Fuel Cell Engines and etc. Though these technology exists, it has not been part of mass production and thus costly to use. EV has been the most cost effective mode of public transportation. May be ProtonTech instead of concentrate on wasting money on Sepang Circuit to make car go dangerously faster; and Perodua with the so many “O” in the advertisement; should consider building Hybrid Engine Vehicle (not a big step away.)

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