KUALA LUMPUR: A cashless society will reduce corruption as all transactions are recorded, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Cash sometimes is used for bribery. When we go cashless, it is difficult for them to hide or give cash as bribes as all transactions will be recorded in the banks and other systems.
“We can know who gave and received bribes.
“If there are no bribes, our cost of living will go down. If bribery is rampant, every work that we do will be more expensive as we have to give (bribes) to certain parties who have the power to pass our requests,” said Dr Mahathir.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the launch of a new unlimited travel pass for public rail and bus commuters, a government initiative under the Transport Ministry.
From Jan 1, commuters can take unlimited rides on land public transport with the unlimited travel pass using their MyKad.
The unlimited travel pass, known as My50 and My100, worth RM50 and RM100 respectively, is valid for 30 days from the date of purchase using the MyKad, MyKid or MyTentera.
“These are government efforts to lower the cost of living, as we have promised in our manifesto,” said Dr Mahathir.
He said the government could not afford to give everything for free as this would involve taxpayer money and save the people nothing.
“We try to assist the people and we don’t always ask the people to be grateful to the government.
“But when there is an election, think of us too. We too want some rewards so that we can assist you more,” said Dr Mahathir.
He pointed out that the unlimited travel pass could help a commuter save up to RM100 a month.
“If two million people in the city of Kuala Lumpur save RM1,200 in travel costs every year, I don’t know how to calculate but I think that is a lot of money saved,” he said.
The My100 pass allows for unlimited rides for 30 days on all forms of RapidKL rail and road transport.
This includes MRT, LRT, monorail, BRT Sunway, RapidKL buses and MRT feeder buses.
The My50 pass is valid for 30 days on all RapidKL buses and MRT feeder buses, but not BRT.
The passes, which will be activated immediately after the New Year countdown, can be bought at all LRT and MRT stations and four main bus hubs in Shah Alam, Greenwood, Sri Nilam and Kajang using the MyKad, MyKid or MyTentera.
The passes can later be topped up at Touch ‘n Go counters.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke later told the media that the government subsidises Prasarana with RM100 for every RM100 unlimited travel pass until a threshold of 120,000 ridership is reached, after which the subsidy per rider will be lowered.
“There is a fixed cost involved for Prasarana. If there is higher ridership (exceeding 120,000), then the government can subsidise less.
“We are targeting 200,000 ridership (using passes) a month. Our ceiling is RM230mil subsidy for these passes in 2019 and whatever we save will be put back into other public transport initiatives,” said Loke.
The unlimited travel pass pilot project is confined to the Klang Valley as it has all modes of public transport.