• Public Transportation in the Klang Valley should be affordable, integrated, easy to use and reliable

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 14th of July, 2016

    Public Transportation in the Klang Valley should be affordable, integrated, easy to use and reliable

    On the 30th of June, 2016, Prime Minister Najib officiated the launch of the LRT extension for the Kelana Jaya and Ampang lines to the new Putra Heights interchange. About a year ago, Najib also officiated the opening of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service from Sunway-Setia Jaya to USJ 7. While the expansion of public transportation coverage in the Klang Valley is a much welcome move, the provision of public transportation is much more than just building new LRT stations and MRT lines. Specifically, public transportation should be affordable, integrated, easy to use and reliable.

    I decided to test out the new LRT extension and also other aspects of our public transportation system last Tuesday, the 5th of July, 2016, a day before Hari Raya. I drove my car to the new LRT station near Taman OUG called Awan Besar and took the LRT to the Putra Heights interchange. I changed trains and alighted at the USJ 7 station and took the BRT to Sunway-Setia Jaya. From there, I took the KTM train to KL Sentral. I then took the LRT to Masjid Jamek via the Kelana Jaya line and changed trains to the Ampang line to head back to the Awan Besar LRT station. How did my experience rate based on the four criteria outlined above?

    Firstly, our LRT fares are not exactly affordable. My LRT trip from Awan Besar to USJ7 cost RM5.20 for a cashless fare because I used my RapidKL card (a cash token would have cost RM6.10 for the same ride). The BRT ride from USJ7 to Sunway Setia cost me an additional RM5.40 which meant that the LRT plus BRT for a one-way trip cost me RM10.60! Of course, one may say that there are not that many people who would choose this route to get to Sunway-Setia Jaya but even if I were to alight at Sunway University / Sunway Monash (let’s say I was a student at one of the institutions), the BRT ride would cost me RM2.70 for a total of RM7.90 for a one-way trip from the Awan Besar LRT to the SunU-Monash BRT station.

    For argument’s sake, let’s say I wanted to take the train from Awan Besar to the end of the Kelana Jaya line which is Gombak. A one-way trip would cost me RM5.70 for a cashless trip (RM6.70 for a cash token). While this is still cheaper than driving and parking, it would be a burden for a minimum wage earner to spend RM11.40 per day or RM250 per month just on public transportation.

    To compare, we can look across the border to Singapore. The MRT is FREE on weekdays for travel before 7.45am in order to decrease congestion during the peak travel time which is between 8am and 9am. A trip from the first MRT station in the east – Pasir Ris (E1) – to the last MRT station in the west – Joo Koon (E29) – which covers a distance of 42.6km only costs SGD 2.03.

    Note: Singapore’s GDP per capita is more than five times Malaysia’s GDP per capita

    On the first criteria, affordability, Malaysia’s public transport system seems to fall short.

    Secondly, to what extent is our public transportation integrated? On this front, I think some improvements have been made in the Klang Valley. The integration of the KTM, LRT, ERL and some bus routes has transformed KL Sentral into a public transportation hub which is used by many thousands every day. The Sunway BRT system connects the KTM to the LRT (albeit at a high cost to the user). The Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT Line 1 will increase connectivity and public transport integration when it is operational next year. One major gap to be filled is the insufficient feeder bus routes from various neighbourhoods to the LRT and KTM stations.

    But public transportation integration is more than just physical integration. It should also incorporate fare integration. This means that whether one is taking a Rapid KL bus, the LRT or KTM, a journey from the start to the end destination should cost the same regardless of how many times one changes from one form of public transportation to another. Right now, if we take a bus to the LRT station followed by an LRT train followed by a BRT bus, we will be charged three fares for a single journey. An integrated public transportation system will charge us one single fare for that journey. This will increase the affordability of our public transportation system significantly.

    For example, in March this year, I took a bus from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore to the Boon Lay MRT station (in the west) and from there I took an MRT to the Changi Airport (in the east). The fare was SGD 2.03 – 0.88 cents for the bus ride and 1.15 for the MRT ride. It was counted as one journey and one fare even though I took a bus and an MRT. This fare integration makes public transportation in Singapore even more affordable. In Malaysia, fare integration is a concept that is unfamiliar to almost all public transportation users.

    One of the reasons why fare integration remains a challenge in Malaysia is the inability of KTM to ‘sync’ its ticketing system with the LRT / Monorail. While one can use the ‘Touch and Go’ card to pay the KTM fare, it is not possible to use the RapidKL card to pay the KTM fare. In addition, the KTM commuter’s own automatic ticketing system is still not functioning. At the Setia Jaya KTM station, for example, one automatic ticketing machine was not working and another was still undergoing testing. And there was no one on duty at the manual ticketing counter! (See below)

    It looks like we have a long way to go before we can see fare integration even though KTM promised last November that a single ticketing system that is integrated with the LRT and Monorail will be introduced in June this year.[1]

    Thirdly, is our public transportation system easy to use?

    For the new stations on the Kelana Jaya and Ampang extensions, the station indicators on the trains were not working properly when I used them last Tuesday. This means that commuters would not be able to easily keep track of the upcoming LRT stations so that they know which station to alight at. At the same time, there were no announcements on the PA system on the upcoming stations.

    In addition, when I took the LRT from Masjid Jamek to Awan Besar, there were no announcements notifying commuters that we had to change trains at Sri Petaling to get to Awan Besar. On the LRT maps, the line from Sri Petaling to Awan Besar is supposed to be seamless and does not seem to require commuters to change trains. I was only made aware of this when my train stopped at Sri Petaling and then went back to the Bukit Jalil station without going on to Awan Besar.

    Much more needs to be done in order to improve the signage and the announcements in the LRT stations. (I’ll save the lack of bus route maps for Rapid KL buses for another time)

    Fourthly and finally, is our public transportation system reliable? Again, I’ll put aside the question of the reliability of feeder buses for now since I did not take any feeder buses last Tuesday. While the LRT trains were quite regular (waiting time less than 10 minutes for all the stops I was at), the same cannot be said of the KTM. Because I just missed the train at the Setia Jaya KTM station, I had to wait 45 minutes for the next train. One of the reasons for the low frequency of the KTM trains, especially during off peak hours, is because of ongoing double tracking work, but I understand that even during peak hours, trains along the Tanjung Malim and Sentul stretch only arrived once every 45 minutes.

    An unreliable public transportation system in terms of regularity and timing will discourage many users from switching from private vehicles to public transport. It will also cause much discomfort and increase commuting times for those who don’t have a choice but to use public transportation.

    I’d encourage our politicians, especially our Ministers, to test out our public transportation system by themselves, without an entourage, including getting their own tickets and planning their own routes so that they can see for themselves the problems which commuters face on a daily basis in terms of the affordability, integration, ease of use and reliability of the public transportation system in the Klang Valley.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/new-fare-system-to-integrate-ktm-lrt-mrt-monorail

    [2] http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2015/06/01/najib-brt-sunway-electric-bus-service/

    [3] Assuming there are 22 working days in a month.

    [4] https://www.mytransport.sg/content/mytransport/home/commuting/trainservices.html

    [5] http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/new-fare-system-to-integrate-ktm-lrt-mrt-monorail

  • 马来西亚应该要谨慎地回应国际仲裁院针对中国和菲律宾的南海争议所作出的裁决

    (2016年7月13日) 沙登区国会议员王建民博士的媒体声明

    马来西亚应该要谨慎地回应国际仲裁院针对中国和菲律宾的南海争议所作出的裁决

    在2016年7月12日,常设仲裁法院作出许多将会影响中马两国在南海领土主权的重要判决。[1]

    第一,仲裁院宣布“中国主张对南海拥有历史性权利的“九段线”并没有法律基础。”

    第二,仲裁院宣布中国所主张海域特征无法被划定成长达200海里的专属经济区。因此,这些争议海域被裁定为菲律宾的专属经济区。

    第三,仲裁院宣布中国在相关海域的行为已侵犯菲律宾的主权,包括干扰菲律宾的渔民在相关海域捕鱼,建造人工岛和没有阻止中国渔民在菲律宾的海域捕鱼。

    第四,在南沙群岛的7点判决中,仲裁院宣布中国因大规模的填海活动而对珊瑚礁环境造成严重伤害。

    第五,仲裁院宣布由于中国的大规模的填海活动,“因此在裁决的过程中已违反自身的义务来避免该争议的扩大和恶化。”

    仲裁院的这些判决,将可能激励马来西亚在南海同样有重叠的海域如属于大马海岸线范围,长达200海里的专属经济区(EEZ),沙捞越民都鲁以北80公里外的曾母暗沙(James Shoal/ Beting Serupai)提出类似的仲裁案。此外,马来西亚也会进一步地主张位于沙捞越100公里外的南康暗沙(Gugusan Beting Raja Jarun)和北康暗沙(Gugusan Beting Patinggi Ali) 。

    中国近年来也曾侵犯马来西亚上述的海域,令人印象最深刻莫过于2013年和2014年中国海军前往曾母暗沙(James Shoal)海域巡逻,和最近2016年3月,中国海舰船停泊在南康暗沙(South Luconia Shoals)处。[2]

    虽然海洋法法庭的判决对所有签署联合国海洋法公约(UNCLOS)的国家有约束力,但中国已表明不承认判决结果。[3] 鉴于中国作为经济和贸易伙伴的重要性,因此,为了避免与中国产生任何的摩擦,马来西亚应针对有争议的海域与中国继续进行双边谈判,并商量与东盟国家之间共同制定有约束力的行为守则。

    当再也没有其他的选项时,我们应该有策略地通过提出国际仲裁案来解决中马两国的南海争议。

    王建民博士
    沙登区国会议员

    [1] http://www.andrewerickson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/PH-CN-20160712-Press-Release-No-11-English.pdf

    [2] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-malaysia-idUSKCN0YM2SV

    [3] http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1217147.shtml

  • Malaysia perlu berhati-hati ketika menyambut keputusan Mahkamah Tetap Timbang Tara ke atas kes timbang tara Laut China Selatan antara Filipina dan Malaysia

    Kenyataan Media oleh Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Ahli Parlimen Serdang pada 13 Julai 2016

    Malaysia perlu berhati-hati ketika menyambut keputusan Mahkamah Tetap Timbang Tara ke atas kes timbang tara Laut China Selatan antara Filipina dan Malaysia

    Keputusan oleh Mahkamah Tetap Timbang Tara (selepas ini dirujuk sebagai ‘Mahkamah’) pada 12 Julai 2016 telah menetapkan beberapa penemuan penting berkenaan kawasan di Laut China Selatan yang dituntut oleh Malaysia dan Filipina.[1]

    Pertama, Mahkamah mendapati bahawa “tiada asas undang-undang bagi China untuk menuntut hak sejarah ke atas sumber dalam kawasan lautan yang diliputi oleh ‘sembilan garis putus-putus’.”

    Kedua, Mahkamah mendapati “tiada sebarang kawasan seperti yang dituntut oleh China mampu menjana Zon Ekonomi Eksklusif (EEZ)” dalam lingkungan 200 batu nautika. Antara kawasan yang dipertikaikan ini sebenarnya berada dalam EEZ Filipina.

    Ketiga, Mahkamah mendapati China telah melanggar kedaulatan Filipina dengan menghalang aktiviti penangkapan ikan oleh nelayan Filipina, membina pulau buatan dan gagal menghalang nelayan China daripada menangkap ikan dalam kawasan EEZ Filipina.

    Keempat, Mahkamah mendapati China telah mengakibatkan “kerosakan teruk” kepada persekitaran marin akibat daripada penambakan berskala besar di Kepulauan Spratly.

    Kelima, Mahkamah mendapati China telah “melanggar kewajipannya untuk mengelakkan daripada membesarkan pertikaian negara-negara terlibat sementara menunggu penyelesaian pertikaian” disebabkan oleh penambakan laut secara besar-besaran.

    Penemuan Mahkamah, jika diguna pakai kepada kes lain di Laut Cina Selatan, mampu memperkukukan tuntutan Malaysia ke atas James Shoal atau Beting Serupai yang berada 80km ke barat laut Bintulu, Sarawak dan berada dalam pelantar benua Malaysia serta 200 batu nautika EEZ. Ia juga mampu memperkukuhkan tuntutan Malaysia ke atas North Luconia Shoals (atau Gugusan Beting Raja Jarun) dan South Luconia Shoals (atau Gugusan Beting Patinggi Ali) yang terletak agaknya 100km daripada Sarawak.

    Kedaulatan Malaysia ke atas beberapa kawasan ini telah dicabar oleh China sejak baru-baru ini, terutamanya oleh peronda marin China di James Shoal pada 2013 dan 2014[2], dan yang terbaru pada Mac 2016 oleh kapal Pengawal Pantai China di South Luconia Shoals.[3]

    Walaupun kesemua pihak yang menandatangani UNCLOS terikat dengan keputusan Mahkamah, China telah menyatakan bahawa ianya tidak akan mengiktiraf dan menerima keputusan ini.[4] Memandangkan kepetingan China sebagai rakan perdagangan dan ekonomi Malaysia, Malaysia harus mengurangkan risiko perselisihan dengan meneruskan rundingan dua hala terhadap pertikaian ini serta rundingan untuk penubuhan Kod Tata Laku kukuh di Laut China Selatan antara ASEAN dan China.

    Pilihan untuk menggunakan timbang tara antarabangsa sebagai jalan untuk mencapai keputusan dalam pertikaian antara Malaysia dan China di Laut China Selatan harus digunakan secara strategik dan hanya apabila tiada pilihan lain.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Ahli Parlimen Serdang

    [1] http://www.andrewerickson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/PH-CN-20160712-Press-Release-No-11-English.pdf

    [2] http://amti.csis.org/malaysia-recalibrating-its-south-china-sea-policy/

    [3] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-malaysia-idUSKCN0YM2SV

    [4] http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1217147.shtml

  • Malaysia should cautiously welcome the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the South China Sea arbitration between the Philippines and China

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 13th of July, 2016

    Malaysia should cautiously welcome the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the South China Sea arbitration between the Philippines and China

    The ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (henceforth, the Tribunal) on the 12th of July, 2016, establishes a number of important findings that are consequential to the areas which are claimed by both Malaysia and China in the South China Sea.[1]

    Firstly, the Tribunal found that “there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the ‘nine-dash line’.”

    Secondly, the Tribunal found that “none of the features claimed by China was capable of generating an exclusive economic zone (EEZ)” of 200 nautical miles. As such, some of the features under dispute lie within the EEZ of the Philippines.

    Thirdly, the Tribunal found that China had violated the sovereignty of the Philippines by obstructing fishing activities by fishermen from the Philippines, constructing artificial islands and failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the Philippine’s EEZ.

    Fourthly, the Tribunal found that China had caused “severe harm” to the marine environment as a result of its large scale reclamation activities in seven features in the Spratly Islands.

    Fifthly, the Tribunal found that China had “violated its obligations to refrain from aggravating or extending the Parties’ disputes during the pendency of the settlement process” because of its large scale reclamation activities.

    The findings of the Tribunal, if applied to other cases in the South China Sea, would strengthen Malaysia’s claim on features such as James Shoal or Beting Serupai, which lies a mere 80km northwest of Bintulu, Sarawak and is well within the continental shelf of Malaysia and the 200 nautical mile EEZ. Malaysia’s claim to the North Luconia Shoals (or Gugusan Beting Raja Jarun) and the South Luconia Shoals (Gugusan Beting Patinggi Ali) which are located approximately 100km from Sarawak would also be strengthened.

    Malaysia’s sovereignty over these features have been challenged by China in the recent past, most notably by Chinese navy patrols in James Shoal in 2013 and 2014[2] and more recently, in March 2016, by Chinese Coast Guard ships in the South Luconia Shoals.[3]

    Even though the ruling of the Tribunal is binding on all signatories of UNCLOS, China has already said that it does not recognize this Tribunal’s jurisdiction.[4] Given the importance of China as a trading and economic partner, Malaysia should minimize the risk of agitating China by continuing bilateral negotiations on the areas of dispute as well as negotiating for the establishment of a robust Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea between ASEAN and China.

    The option to use international arbitration as a means to seek a decision on the areas of dispute between Malaysia and China in the South China Sea should be used strategically and when other options have been taken off the table.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] http://www.andrewerickson.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/PH-CN-20160712-Press-Release-No-11-English.pdf

    [2] http://amti.csis.org/malaysia-recalibrating-its-south-china-sea-policy/

    [3] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-malaysia-idUSKCN0YM2SV

    [4] http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1217147.shtml

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