The future of KTM is bleak

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Head of Penang Institute in Kuala Lumpur on the 13th of March 2018

With much recent attention on new public transportation projects such as the LRT Line 3, the MRT Lines 2 and 3, the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) and the KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR), the oldest rail operator in the country, KTM has been largely ignored even though it provides important connectivity within the Klang Valley and is  a major form of inter-city public transportation.

This report by Penang Institute in KL examines in detail the current performance of KTM, the challenges faced as well as the future prospects of the rail operator. In summary, the performance of KTM across all service offerings, with the exception of the ETS, has been declining.

Continue reading

This BN government can postpone loan repayments for political cronies but not for low income students

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang and Assistant National Director for Political Education for the DAP, on the 12th of March 2018

In Pakatan Harapan’s Manifesto which was launched on Thursday, 8th of March 2018, one of the promises outlined was to allow students to postpone the repayment of their PTPTN loans until their monthly incomes reach RM4,000. The next day, PTPTN chairman and MP for Lenggong, Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah criticized this proposal as being unrealistic and irresponsible.[1] He also said that the practice of allowing PTPTN borrowers to defer their repayments for as much as 36 months before they find a job is a more ‘reasonable’ proposal.

What is ironic about the statement of the PTPTN chairman is that the government has given far longer extensions on loan repayments due to cronyism and corrupt deals. For example, in 2007 the government gave a RM4.6 billion soft loan to the Port Klang Authority (PKA) to fund the scandal ridden PKFZ deal.[2] The full servicing of this loan was postponed to 2011 but in 2011, PKA was not in a financial position to start the full repayments.[3] In 2013, the cabinet decided to give another ‘grace period’ to PKA for another 4 years and to allow PKA to start servicing this loan only in 2018.[4] In total, PKA was allowed to defer its repayment for 10 years as a result of the PKFZ scandal. In other words, students who cannot find jobs get a maximum deferment of 3 years but if you are a government owned company who squandered billions of Ringgit because of a corrupt business deal, you can be given a 10 year loan deferment! Barisan Nasional boleh!

Continue reading