In The Mass Media

Think tank: Let state handle public transport

Thursday October 4, 2012

GEORGE TOWN: Penang should be given the power to manage its own public transport, said Penang Institute chief executive officer Zairil Khir Johari.

“Presently, public transport is under the Prime Minister’s Department when everywhere else in the world, it is managed by the local authorities.

“Also, a decentralisation and a restructuring of state and federal relations can be a possible solution to public transport and other problems,” he said.

Zairil added that Malaysia had become very centralised, and all decision making was concentrated in the centre.

“For example, there are 62 agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department. They are actually duplicating the work done by the ministries and other agencies,” he said during the ‘States of Reform —Governing Selangor and Penang’ book launch-cum-forum here yesterday.

The book is a compilation of articles by Tricia Yeoh, a policy analyst and former research officer working for Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim.

Zairil, who is also Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s political secretary, was among four panellists at the forum which discussed federalism as well as the state and federal relationship.

Another panellist, PKR’s Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said the Prime Minister Department in Malaysia is so powerful that power, which people expected to be the state government’s, remained with the Federal Government.

“For the country to flourish, to increase its competitiveness and competencies, working together is better for all.”

The forum, attended by some 50 people, was moderated by Seberang Prai local councillor Steven Sim.