KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government is focused on improving rail network and services in the country, in order to encourage more people to use the trains and improve freight transportation, said Deputy Transport Minister Kamarudin Jaffar on Tuesday (Jan 21).
The railway service in Malaysia is underutilised, said Mr Kamarudin.
The government has always given priority to improving public transport, with several large-scale public transport projects under construction, he said.
He expressed hope that more citizens will use the rail network for their commutes, especially when major projects are completed.
These include the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya MRT and the LRT3 projects, which will boost economic growth and increase the use of public transport in the Klang Valley.
HELP FROM PRIVATE SECTOR
Mr Kamarudin urged the private sector to pitch in.
"Although a strong public transport system is the catalyst for growth, the key always lies in the business community,” he said in his keynote address at the 2020 Malaysia Economic and Strategic Outlook Forum in Kuala Lumpur.
"As many of you here are in the private sector, I would like to strongly urge you to give serious consideration to spreading your business operations to other states and cities and help create new jobs for the people.”
To ensure connectivity in urban areas, the government has also improved public transport coverage including introducing three new routes last year for GoKL's free bus service, he noted.
E-HAILING, BIKE-HAILING SERVICES
Mr Kamarudin pointed out that first and last-mile connectivity is always a challenge in transportation.
He said one of the strategies to tackle it is by leveraging new technologies such as the Internet of Things, machine learning, big data analytics and cloud computing.
"E-hailing, for example, is one solution.
“In today's digital age, e-hailing does not only stand as a transportation solution, but it also acts in a larger setting including through seamless payments and job creation, as well as shaping a lifestyle and economy," he added.
Mr Kamarudin said the government has also embarked on a proof of concept programme for bike-hailing services within the Klang Valley since early January.
The trial period is for six months.
The government also needs to ensure equality and balance in the transport industry, particularly between various public transport service operators, he said.
Initiatives taken by the government include improvements in ensuring a level playing field in the taxi and e-hailing industry, such as opening up vehicle and model choices for taxi use.