On-demand transport company appointed as it had credentials, says S'gor exco

KLANG: The Selangor government has come out with an explanation as to why it had appointed a company linked to a Pakatan Harapan minister’s husband to provide on-demand transportation services in the state.

State executive councillor for Investment, Trade and Mobility Ng Sze Han said Asia Mobility Technologies Sdn Bhd (Asia Mobility) was appointed in Oct last year to provide Demand-Responsive Transit (DRT) services because it had the necessary credentials.

The company was founded in 2018 by Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh’s husband Ramachandran Muniandy, who is its chief executive officer, and Malaysiakini founder and its former chief executive officer Premesh Chandran.

Ng said in a statement on Friday (May 24) afternoon that two companies - Asia Mobility and Badan Bas Coach Sdn Bhd (Badan Bas) - were given the nod by the Land Public Transport Agency (Apad) to run the services at the time when the state initiated the DRT pilot project.

“APAD had approved the Proof of Concept (POC) testing process for bus services on demand for Asia Mobility on Dec 22, 2022 and Badan Bas on Feb 24 2023,’’ added Ng.

He said both companies were invited to make their respective presentations to the state’s DRT pilot project implementation committee and added that they were to be considered for appointment as a service provider based on APAD’s approval.

Ng added that the DRT was the first phase of the Selangor Mobility initiative and is a system that will gather all forms of transportation under one umbrella and manage it with data analysis.

Under the system, people living in areas that are not covered by the Smart Selangor buses can use the DRT application to book vehicles like vans to pick them and send them to LRT, MRT and KTM Komuter stations.

“A letter of intent was given to the service operators companies on June 15, 2023 and the appointments were letters issued on Sept 20, 2023,’’ said Ng.

He added the implementation committee had decided for the DRT Selangor Mobility service to concentrate in busy areas that have connections with main modes of transportation such as the LRT, MRT and KTM Commuter as well as narrow routes that cannot accommodate buses.

Ng said that the DRT service is aimed at solving "first-mile and last-mile connectivity" issues linked to major public transport conduits such as railway stations as well as to provide access to residential areas that cannot be serviced by the Smart Selangor buses.

He added that the state administration wanted to keep up with the standards set by the relevant authorities to ensure the safety of DRT users is guaranteed.

Ng’s statement follows an uproar on X (formerly known as Twitter) over the company’s appointment.

Amongst the questions raised in the X account dubbed Aduan Rakyat (Citizens’ Complaints) were why such a new company was given the contract, if there was an open tender and if the involvement of Yeoh’s husband was reflective of any conflict of interest.

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