Former transport minister, Anthony Loke, stated the PH government tried to improve the country's public transportation services, including MRT.
In an interview with the Malay Mail, Loke was defending the PH administration against the 'misconceptions' churned out by its political rivals. The claims were targeted at PH over the 'delaying' of certain public transportation projects like the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), High Speed Rail (HSR) from KL to Singapore, and Johor Baru-Singapore rapid transit system.
*Image credit: The Star
According to Loke, "The entire contract and the entire project (ECRL) was executed without any transparency. I mean when I was the minister of transport, even officers from SPAD cannot answer me, they were in the dark. They just took decisions from the Prime Minister’s Office to execute the whole thing without much deliberation."
Regarding the Johor Baru-Singapore rapid transit system, Loke further explained that the two-year delay during their time in power was used to renegotiate with Singapore for terms that are more favourable and beneficial for Malaysia.
Pertaining the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), Loke stated that the PH government at the time was focused on making the trains and stations more functional. During their period as the government, PH wanted to ensure that these public transport projects are more user-friendly whilst managing costs.
"In the past the MRT project was overdesigned, I think many people agree it was overdesigned in terms of the station and train and so on, it was overdesigned. So we took a more progressive approach in order to cut costs, so we want to make sure for example the MRT stations should be more functional instead of being grandiose, instead of being overdesigned, so that’s the approach we have taken, so I did not think it was really a mistake in that,” added Loke.
After explaining that the HSR project was not terminated by PH but Muhyiddin's government (Perikatan Nasional), PH's main concerns during their time from 2018 to 2020 were to make sure that all public transportation services here in Malaysia were to be safer and more affordable, plus other things like figuring out the 'first and last mile' conundrum.
"Those are the issues that we really focus and try to do things differently to ensure the public can appreciate public transport more, of course things are not perfect, we could have done more, we could have done better,” Loke concluded.
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