Bow out honourably, Loke tells Isa


New Transport Minister Anthony Loke speaking to media at the ministry in Putrajaya.MOHD SAHAR MISNI/The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad is among the political appointees told to resign within a week – even with the announcement that the body is to be abolished soon.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke (pic) said Isa had yet to submit his resignation letter.

“I hope as a former minister, he can do the honourable way of resigning and taking his cue from Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad, who stepped down voluntarily as Felda chairman,” he told reporters at his ministry here yesterday.

This followed the Prime Minister’s earlier announcement that SPAD would be abolished with its functions being carried out by the Transport Ministry.

“His position is untenable in SPAD. So, my first order as the minister is to ask him to resign,” said Loke.

Should Isa refuse to do so, Loke said the ministry would be forced to end his contract with SPAD.

“The contract of political appointees can be ended at any time,” he said.

Other than the SPAD chairman, he said other political appointees such as board of directors of port authorities under the ministry’s purview had also been told to resign within the week.

“For instance, the board of directors and chairmen of port authorities in Klang, Penang and Johor, who were political appointees from the previous administration; I hope they can do it the honourable way.

“I do not like to embar­rass people or sack them. I do not have to name them one by one but they know who they are,” he said.

Lauding the move to abolish SPAD, Loke said it was a much- awaited decision.

“This is something logical and should have been done a long time ago.

“We are looking to integrate the land transport sector,” he said.

He said all operations, jurisdictions and enforcement under SPAD would continue as usual until the repeal of the Land Public Transport Act in Parliament.

“For the time being, SPAD has been put under my ministry and is answerable to it,” Loke said, adding that a meeting would be held with SPAD to find a mechanism and a way forward.

“We are looking to absorb some staff into the ministry and streamlining it.

“The keyword of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration is to downsize and reduce overlapping.”

On the status of projects such as the High Speed Rail (HSR), Loke said this would be reviewed by the Cabinet, adding that no decision had been made yet.

He also said the search for the missing MH370 by the private US firm Ocean Infinity would be extended by one week until May 29.

“They have requested for another one week and the Cabinet has agreed that the search will be continued until then,” said Loke, adding that this would be the final extension.

The previous administration had agreed in January to pay Houston-based Ocean Infinity up to US$70mil (RM278.5mil) should it find the plane in the southern Indian Ocean.

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