Consumer group calls for body to protect transport users’ rights

Ajit-JohlPETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Public Transport Users Association (4PAM) has called for the establishment of an independent agency to protect the rights of travellers, including their safety.

“If the government is serious about improving public transport and in encouraging people to use public transport, there must be more protection given to the users,” said 4PAM president Ajit Johl.

He told FMT the agency he was suggesting should have representatives from government regulating bodies, transport companies and all other “relevant parties”.

He also said it was crucial for the agency’s work to be transparent because transport users must be made aware that support was available to them if anything untoward were to happen as a result of their use of transport services.

He added that the agency’s responsibility should cover ride-sharing services as well.

He said 4PAM would particularly like to see the appointment of an agency acting as an ombudsman with whom transport users could directly raise complaints and give pertinent feedback.

He said such an ombudsman would be like a watchdog and a “small tribunal court where issues can be discussed openly and transparently”.

He called for urgency in the establishment of such a agency, noting that the financial services and aviation industries already had such bodies.

“The financial services industry has the financial mediation bureau and the aviation industry has the Malaysian Aviation Commission,” he said.

“What we are missing now is a neutral body that can really support transport users, where issues can be discussed easily, quickly and with transparency.”

On July 27, the Dewan Rakyat passed the Land Public Transport (Amendment) Bill, which gave the government the authority to regulate e-hailing companies such as Uber and Grab. On the same day, the house also passed the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (Amendment) Bill.