PETALING JAYA: The delay in the functioning of the Land Public Transport Commission, or SPAD, is due to a legal technicality and not pressure from some quarters, reliable sources said.
The legal technicality relates to an amendment to the Road Transport Act (RTA) that should have been passed in the last parliamentary session, giving SPAD crucial powers relating to aspects of public transport that currently come under the purview of SPAD.
However, the SPAD-related amendment had been bundled with other amendments that had not received the support of backbenchers in parliament.
It is understood that the backbenchers were opposed to other aspects of amendments to the RTA, such as raising the maximum compound fine for traffic offences to RM1,000 from RM300. Another proposal in the RTA amendments was to have smart chips installed in vehicle registration number plates.
“There was hardly any opposition to amendments related to the powers of SPAD. It was unfortunate that the SPAD-related amendments to the RTA had been bundled together with other amendments that were opposed,” said a source.
To recap, SPAD was set up on June 3 as a body promising much to fix the poor state of public transport in the country.
This means that SPAD is slated to undertake all the key aspects of managing public transport, something that is currently under the purview of a disparate set of bodies, namely some 15 government related agencies and departments.
It had been feared by some quarters that SPAD would face opposition considering that it is slated to also take over the powers of licensing of taxis and buses.
Two Acts to establish SPAD have already been passed, namely the Land Public Transport (PAD) Act 2010 and the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) Act 2010. In addition, amendments to four transport-related Acts needed to be passed. Amendments to the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act, Railways Act and Tourism Vehicles Licensing Act have already been passed, except for the Road Transport Act.
Earlier this month, SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the commission, which was slated to be fully operational by Sept 1, would only start playing its anointed role sometime next year as it lacked enforcement powers.
“We have to wait for all the Acts and amendments to be gazetted as the commission cannot operate in isolation. All the Acts must be in place first,” Syed Hamid had said.
SPAD’s main objective is to formulate policies pertaining to public transport, monitor and plan rail, bus and taxi services, as well as transport of goods via both rail and road.
To ensure the success of its objectives, SPAD will take over the functions of several government agencies such as the Rail Department, Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board and Tourism Commissioner in issuing licences for tour buses.
More importantly, the commission will be given the responsibility of realising initiatives of the National Key Result Areas for public transport, in line with boosting the quality of public transport for the comfort and convenience of users.
This includes the transit bus system, the integration of various public transport modes, enhancing effectiveness and promptness, and better enforcement.
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