Another White Elephant for Putrajaya?

by Moaz Yusuf Ahmad
Subang Jaya,

RE: Putrajaya monorail report and Putrajaya Corp. bus purchases

When it was announced in early 2008 that the government was taking another look at the Putrajaya monorail, it could hardly have come at a better time. This was in late April/early May, and I had just finished participating in the Majlis Bajet Consultation 2009. My experience trying to get from Persiaran Putrajaya (the site of the Finance Ministry) to Putrajaya Sentral was ironic. Though the bus fleet had improved (in terms of size) information about bus services and bus shelters was still non-existent on the main island.

My comments about the poor infrastructure for the bus services and the lack of demand to justify a monorail would strike a chord with many people. They agreed with me about the irony of investing millions of RM to build a monorail instead of investing a few thousand RM to build bus shelters that could be enjoyed by many.

Now that the report on the monorail has been completed it would be very interesting to hear what it has to say. Sadly, the government is keeping quiet about the report.

Fortunately, there is an interesting clue in the announcement about the Putrajaya Corporation’s plan to buy 15 buses soon and 104 buses with the allocation from the 9MP.

At the moment the Putrajaya corporation has 25 or more 12m buses, powered by clean natural gas. It is anyone’s guess how many of these buses are actually operating under the NadiPutra service at any given time, but the fleet size is certainly adequate for the needs of Putrajaya.

With the addition of 15 buses, the fleet would be more than 50 buses, which would certainly be more than adequate for Putrajaya, as well as Cyberjaya and probably Kajang and Sepang as well. In fact, with a fleet of 50 buses, NadiPutra might even be capable of running direct services to KL, using the KL-Putrajaya highway. Such a service would be quite competitive against the existing RapidKL and Metrobus and even against the KLIA Transit. And with a fleet of 50 buses, the monorail would be quite unnecessary for Putrajaya. Hence, perhaps the intent to purchase the buses is a clue that the monorail will not be built anytime soon.

But that may not be the case. The intent to purchase 104 more buses is quite strange because I cannot imagine that the Putrajaya Corporation would need 150 buses to operate bus services in and around Putrajaya. I am even afraid to imagine that they might build the monorail and have a fleet of 150 buses.

The whole thing sounds like a massive mis-allocation of funds which could be used to improve public transport services in other communities. As I stated more than 2 years ago, it is highly unfair that KL, Petaling Jaya, Ipoh, Penang, Johor Bahru, and many other Malaysian communities are suffering from pollution and traffic congestion and poor public transport while a small city like Putrajaya gets a fleet of all-CNG buses that is far larger than what it actually needs.

  1. #1 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 23 October 2008 - 6:20 pm

    Public transport in Malaysia SUCKS big time.
    Over in JB we have the advantage of experiencing a world-class public transport system – it’s just across the Causeway!
    The masterplan for KL was a mega-disaster with the different operators – if only the government had laid out the basic plans properly like having one integrated system but 3 different companies allocated different segments.

  2. #2 by taiking on Thursday, 23 October 2008 - 6:24 pm

    Bigger projects means more personal reward for those in charge.
    Bus shelter. Oh that can definitely wait.

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Thursday, 23 October 2008 - 6:44 pm

    Are they going to buy the (15 + 104) buses from Scomi? Please check.

  4. #4 by dawsheng on Thursday, 23 October 2008 - 6:47 pm

    “Over in JB we have the advantage of experiencing a world-class public transport system – it’s just across the Causeway!”

    World class indeed. Bus is very comfortable, air conditioned and equipped with mobile TV. MRT is fast, when the circle line open in two years, it’ll be even faster. But, please avoid the peak hour.

  5. #5 by badak on Thursday, 23 October 2008 - 7:54 pm

    It looks like there is a competition among BN ministers.

  6. #6 by Anti_NEP on Thursday, 23 October 2008 - 9:26 pm

    Is Scomi the supplying the 150 buses and monorail coaches?

  7. #7 by Godfather on Thursday, 23 October 2008 - 9:40 pm

    In the late 90s, some of us proposed an electrified tram system for Putrajaya, similar to the tram systems in Australia and in Europe. The answer from the EPU was a resounding “No”, with no rationale given. We understood that there were vested interests involved in ensuring that the lowest cost, most efficient transport system would never be approved, and instead, the most expensive system would get a proper hearing.

    This is the way of Bolehland and it will not change until the federal government is removed. It must be taught a lesson that the will of the rakyat must prevail over selfish and destructive interests.

  8. #8 by pizi87 on Thursday, 23 October 2008 - 9:58 pm

    Pls dont get Scomi involved this time, they should be already fat with the contracts awarded thus far

  9. #9 by rubini on Thursday, 23 October 2008 - 11:14 pm

    Dear YB,

    Everything comes down to planning & execution. I am currently residing/working in the UK. Perhaps our geniuses in M’sia should observe & learn the Intergrated Public Transport system in the UK works. How Local Councils manages the Public transports with proper study & management.

    Whenever i travel, i only need to go the internet to plan & purchase my travel intenary & i am on my way. How IT is used to improve the travel quality of the public transport commuters. Due to prudent mgmt, transport cost are very reasonable. Some councils even provide free transport for the elderly.

  10. #10 by just a moment on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 5:43 am

    By this time, white elephant may be a thing of the past. I would reckon now, our Goment is collecting Mammoth!! Its painful to watch everyday when you drive past places of these huge ‘mammoth’ buildings or ‘parks’ and see a poor kid sandwitched between his/her parent, riding on a motocycle.Know what I mean?
    Malaysia, being bless with its fortune need not waste this kind of money at the expense of the rakyat. Its inhuman. Or even if they rob, swindle, our money- Just take and go, scumbags! Do not leave behind buildings and parks or any form of infrastructure as some kind of prize ‘thropy’ to remind us. It really hurts.

  11. #11 by homeblogger on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 6:37 am

    pizi87 Says:

    Yesterday at 21: 58.57
    Pls dont get Scomi involved this time, they should be already fat with the contracts awarded thus far


    When have you ever heard that enough is enough for our UMNO-fed money-hungry folk? Perhaps each bus will be quoted at RM1.5 billion. I’m sure they assume we rakyat will agree this is a fair price. Then to push the deal through, the PM will take over the transportation portfolio.

  12. #12 by pulau_sibu on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 6:44 am

    Don’t you think Putra Jaya is the mother of white elephant?
    So it makes no difference to come out with more white elephants

  13. #13 by monsterball on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 7:14 am

    Why are we surprised that UMNO needs..RM multi billion projects…to beef up the UMNO kitty…….for bribing and get them through again.
    This time they need much much more cash…for coming next election…that ever before.
    After all….Petronas is so filthy rich with our money.
    They will give you cock and bull reasons…why petrol prices cannot be reduced to less than RM2 per litre. Don’t listen to thier cock and bull reasons.
    It is that simple…..less “subsidies” given to everything…which is not so call subsidies at all.
    They chose words to program Malaysians….to feel obligated to UMNO. Let all UMNO sicko knows….all things God give and bless Malaysia…..need no idiots to mock Allah and said…subsidy given…when their massive mismanagements..race and religion politics…in work places… and corruptions are so clear…to be so shameless and ungrateful to Allah.

  14. #14 by chiakchua on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 7:53 am

    Something is boiling inside me when I see another ‘bloody white elephant’ is in the making; these white elephants will finally go to UMNOputras cronies and left dormant after just taking off with bad quality job done. See the many sport complexes in many district!? The many huge sport complexes in shabby condition after holding the Sukan Malaysia? The white elephants after each Merdeka parade in many states? All these are wasteful ‘projects’ to benefit the cronies only; under the pretext of helping the Bumiputras under the NEP. And don’t forget also the ‘billion’ spent in holding many seminars in luxurious hotels. Where on earth you find such wasteful government! Terrible, terrible!

  15. #15 by chengho on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 7:56 am

    pj need efficient public transportation system busses , monorail ,lrt ,mrt just a matter of cost . we build for the future not for short term planning .

  16. #16 by HJ Angus on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 8:01 am

    I agree with rubini’s suggestion that the Transport Minister should study a world class system and the UK can offer ideas.
    But over there local authorities actually operate the bus companies within their jurisdiction and make a loss as it is subsidised with public funds – that should be the way to encourage more to take the bus.

    But why go all the way there?
    Singapore has an excellent system of bus and MRT stops that covers 95% of the island with a bus stop usually not more than 500m from any spot on the island.
    You only have to study one of the larger bus/Mrt stations and you will see all the bus routes of the services at that stop and now they also have display boards with the expected time of the next bus.

    Even before you leave home you can find out “how to get there” with the Internet. So I would encourage the Transport Minister to study the Singapore model.
    I make a weekly trip to Singapore by public transport and my experience on both sides of the Causeway is a real eye-opener for anyone who wants to study “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly” for public transport.

    Yeah Singapore has not sent anyone to outer space yet but they sure know how to get me from Woodlands to Dover!

  17. #17 by vp on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 9:05 am

    BN government is expert in building elephant, so that the foreign tourists will remember the name of “MALAYSIA” cause this country have so many elephant surounding the cities……

  18. #18 by taiking on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 9:08 am

    Actually, having a white elephant may not be such a bad thing. At least we still have an elephant albeit of the white variety. Contrast it with burning tens of millions of our good money in space without any noticeable benefit to the country.

  19. #19 by pakmang on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 9:24 am

    I am not surprised as it is our Malaysian culture! “No new project means no income for some body mah!” eventhough it is not necessarily.

    They will definitely not to learn or study from Spore regarding her transport systems as they just malu and dont want to loss the face value.

  20. #20 by HJ Angus on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 9:50 am

    “Something is boiling inside me when I see another ‘bloody white elephant’ is in the making”

    Don’t boil inside – not good for your health.
    Go and join a political party or NGO and put your steam to good use!
    No flame intended.

  21. #21 by passerby on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 11:46 am

    You don’t make any money going to S’pore and how much can you charge for going to S’pore to study? To make real money, you have to go very far away, like, UK or America. Too bad the people are the suckers and they will continue to screw the rakyat until they is nothing left.

    Malaysia is a land of giant white elephant and maybe some pink one too! This is how the foreigners will remember us, a stupid country run by stupid morons.

  22. #22 by pulau_sibu on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 12:51 pm

    I have something to say about the Petronas Towers. Many international tourists are disappointed when they went there and found that they cannot go up the skybridge. It issues a limited number of passes per day, although starting from 8:30 am, people started lining up like 7 am. This makes it such a big deal and hardship in order to go up the skybridge. I hope something can be done to improve the arrangement, so that international tourists can visit this white elephant, for example, paying a fee and gets priority in accessing the skybridge (it is free at the moment, but not all people are expecting free lunch all the time)

  23. #23 by swipenter on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 1:05 pm

    Why is a monorail system needed in Putrajaya?Why do we need a dedicated highway to KLIA? Why do we need to build Putrajaya in the first place? Why did the rakyat allow the grandoise dreams of one man to take place?

  24. #24 by helpless on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 3:57 pm

    Well done with the highlights of such questionable project.

    It is well known that the government is always create a mega project so small mark up for corruption can ballon to hundred million.

    Simple calculation. Just imagine 10% of ten billion RM is hundred million.

  25. #25 by Emily Pratt on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 4:42 pm

    HJ Angus: “Don’t boil inside – not good for your health.
    Go and join a political party or NGO and put your steam to good use!
    No flame intended.”
    Yes, I too feel the frustration and is seething with anger at our present Nincompoop administration.

    I have downloaded an application form and will apply to one of the Pakatan component party.

    Who knows, if one day I am elected as MP, I govern better than these present goons. Not kidding…

  26. #26 by lopez on Friday, 24 October 2008 - 7:37 pm




  27. #27 by AhPek on Saturday, 25 October 2008 - 12:47 am

    “Perhaps our geniuses in M’sia should observe and learn the Integrated Public Transport System in the UK works.”. rubin.

    “Singapore has an excellent system of bus and MRT stops that covers95%of the island with a bus stop usually not more than 500m from any spot on the island.”. HU Angus.

    But then again do you people know that the Malaysian way is best in churning out overnight millionaires and multi-millionaires!! Why the need to learn from Britain or Singapore??

  28. #28 by Anak Msia on Saturday, 25 October 2008 - 10:37 pm

    the density of Putrajay doesn’t deserve the monirail, area like Subang Jaya / CHeras need more than that, Gomen should set the priority right.

  29. #29 by cemerlang on Saturday, 25 October 2008 - 11:01 pm

    If Putrajaya is going to be the nation’s new capital, replacing Kuala Lumpur, then it has to have everything. Is there a ” plan B ” ?

  30. #30 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 26 October 2008 - 3:52 am

    White elephant in Putrajaya?? The sight of elephants is very rare and for a white one roaming Putrajaya is a remote possibility. Can anyone confirm?

  31. #31 by kyototan on Sunday, 26 October 2008 - 5:29 am

    Who is going to supply those additional new buses to PJH? If you known the answer then you know the reason.

  32. #32 by GodFromHeaven on Sunday, 26 October 2008 - 4:12 pm

    Who is the owner of scomi? eat before leaving, eat before too late….

  33. #33 by DingDongBell on Sunday, 26 October 2008 - 10:32 pm

    It’s hard for normal ppl to talk common sense. MALAYSIA BOLEH !

You must be logged in to post a comment.