KOTA KINABALU: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Rahman Dahlan has told Parti Warisan Sabah vice- president Junz Wong not to criticise the bus rapid transit (BRT) plan for the state capital if he did not understand the concept.
He said Wong obviously lacked understanding of the whole public transportation problem in the city, and thus could not comprehend the government’s holistic way of addressing it.
“He proposed to upgrade the existing minibuses, but these buses will still use normal lanes, subjecting them to traffic congestion. It will not solve the problem of inefficient public transportation,” he said after attending a gotong-royong to clean the storm drain in Manggatal here today.
Rahman explained the BRT would not be just about better buses, but also include dedicated lanes to enable the buses to travel freely and keep to their schedules.
Furthermore, he said, the buses would be of world-class standard and powered by green technology.
“Wong doesn’t understand this. What I meant was, when we want a world-class service, we need to help the government to realise it.
“Otherwise, we (government) will have to subsidise when we could use the money for other projects.
“But I believe the people in Kota Kinabalu want and need efficient land transportation and I think, given the right price, they are willing to invest together with the government.”
Rahman said the plan was still under negotiation and Wong should not dismiss the idea outright.
“This is the problem with the opposition. When we talk about good things, they will bring in populist ideas that will not solve problems.
“Wong brought in the minibus issue but he should know these minibuses can never give us good service without dedicated lanes. He wants to oppose everything, I hope he understands what he is talking about,” he said.
On Monday, Wong said it would be better to improve the haphazard minibus system instead of introducing the BRT which would burden commuters with higher fares.
He said Warisan leaders had gathered feedback from daily commuters and industry players on how a coordinated and effective minibus system could be implemented in the shortest possible time.
He said the buses needed to be reliable, punctual and convenient for passengers, and called on the local authorities to provide support by ensuring roads are well maintained and there are adequate bus stops.
Wong accused Rahman of giving excuses for Barisan Nasional’s failure to implement the BRT which was announced in early 2016 to solve the city’s worsening traffic problems.
An allocation of RM1 billion was announced in the 2016 federal budget to implement the project, which was planned to be completed in 2020.
Kota Kinabalu and the districts around it are now served by a network of private and company-owned minibuses and vans.