PUTRAJAYA: Studies are being carried out on a proposal by the Transport Ministry for unlimited passes and discounts for rail and bus travel to alleviate the people’s living costs.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the government might have to fork out up to RM300mil a year in subsidies if the move was approved.
“We acknowledge the proposal made by the Transport Ministry to implement an integrated Rapid Rail and Rapid Bus unlimited travel pass, as well as discounted KTM Komuter services.
“However, this proposal needs to be brought to the Cabinet for approval, as the subsidy for this is costly.
“We might have to spend about RM300mil a year on this,” she said after chairing a meeting with the National Cost of Living Council here yesterday.
It was the council’s first meeting since the Pakatan Harapan government came to power.
On Aug 17, the council was “reactivated” with a fresh line-up, which includes Pakatan Cabinet ministers as its members.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, who is a council member, said the government was looking at successful public transportation subsidy programmes in developed countries such as Britain and Japan as a guide.
“The proposal to subsidise public transportation travel is meant to help those who rely heavily on this mode of transport, especially those in the B40 group,” he added.
The move to introduce the RM100 monthly pass for unlimited travel on public transportation has been a Pakatan GE14 pledge.
Recently, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said the initiative required more time as the government needed to study the financial implications.
Meanwhile, Dr Wan Azizah said the government was also considering an initiative to reduce the amount of sugar in processed food.
“The meeting has agreed to study this initiative. It is not only for the benefit of consumer health – in the long run, the move could reduce the import of raw material for sugar.
“However, as this involves the sugar industry, we need to get their cooperation to implement this initiative,” she added.