KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 – Peninsular Malaysia Malay Express Bus Operators Association (Pembawa) wants no more delays to the implementation of bus fare hikes. Pembawa president Tajuddin Mohd Yunus has urged the government not to suspend the fare increase to public transport, especially express buses, as was previously announced by Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) on Thursday. He said they had been waiting for more than two years to get SPAD’s approval on the fare increase and they were only asking for what was promised by the government. “The increase approved only involved 20% of the previous fare and it is appropriate after an absence in fare hike for the past eight years.
“It is also only coming into effect in May and I urge the government not to relate the increase to the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) because it has nothing to do with it,” he said when contacted.. Yesterday, the Cabinet told SPAD to postpone the public transport fare increase that was announced. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Cabinet had discussed the matter during its meeting yesterday and had decided that the increase was not suitable in light of the current situation.
He said the Cabinet was of the opinion that there was basis for the hike, such as the fares had not been raised for a long time, the operators were burdened with losses and could not pay commensurate salaries to workers. “The issues which cropped up included efficiency. The basis is there, but the issue here is timing,” he said yesterday. However, Tajuddin said that the increase was much needed by express bus operators to cover ever soaring operational costs. He explained that the price of tyres, spare parts, engine oil and salaries increased by 100%, adding that the number of bus passengers had also decreased on normal days. “The relevant authorities should come and see buses running with only three or four passengers on normal days. “So with the increase, it will give us some relief, although what we will gain is not much,” he said.