KOTA KINABALU: Upko has hit out at Putrajaya’s announcement that a total of RM155 million will be spent to subsidise the cost of free rides for KTM and RapidKL services in the Klang Valley for a month, saying such a huge allocation had never been allocated for Sabah’s roads.
Party vice-president Ewon Benedick said Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had failed to act swiftly in allocating funds to maintain Sabah roads, unlike how he approved the free rides.
“In my opinion, the prime minister is trying to cover up the inefficiency of the monorail services in Kuala Lumpur by offering free rides to commuters,” said Ewon in a statement.
“If the purpose is to reduce the fare burden (for consumers), I would like to ask whether the fare burden will go down after a month?
“The biggest question is: what (do you have) for Sabah?
“Deputy chief minister Bung Mokhtar Radin, who is also the state works minister, said Sabah needs RM265 million to fix the roads all over the state, and yet the prime minister did not quickly address our needs.”
Ewon also said that Ismail’s actions showed that Putrajaya was unconcerned about meeting the needs of Sabahans, as raised by their state government.
“Before this, Sabahans were told that it would be easy to develop Sabah if the state was ruled by the same parties in the federal government.
“The reality is that even former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin did not bother to drastically improve Sabah’s healthcare system throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused the state to lag behind in vaccinating its people,” he added.
Earlier today, Ismail announced that all RapidKL and KTM services would be free for a month starting today in a bid to boost public transport usage.
The announcement was made during the official opening of Phase 1 of the MRT Putrajaya Line today, which means that commuters can ride for free on the MRT, LRT, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), monorail or RapidKL bus services for a month.