Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission told to defer fare hikes

Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission told to defer fare hikes

PETALING JAYA - The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has found itself in a spot after being directed by the Cabinet to defer the hikes in public transport fares.

SPAD, which announced the increased fares for taxis, buses and trains on Thursday, disputed speculation that the new fares were announced without approval.

SPAD chief executive Mohd Nur Ismail Mohamed Kamal said he found it "interesting" that certain quarters implied that the commission acted without approval.

"About us not obtaining approval, it's ridiculous!" he said.

Mohd Nur Ismail however declined to comment when asked if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had been informed or had approved of the increase in fares.

He said the call by the Cabinet to defer the hike, as announced by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday, had not been officially conveyed to SPAD yet, adding that SPAD had only found out about this through media reports.

"The only thing we can do now is wait for official instruction," he said, adding that such a notice would come from the Cabinet Division, under the Prime Minister's Department.

It is understood that under the legal terms of its set up, SPAD reports directly to the Prime Minister.

A source familiar to the study and discussions involving the hike said the new fares had been approved at the highest level.

Speaking to The Star on condition of anonymity, the source said approval for the gazetting of the increases were signed on March 19.

The source added that the Economic Council, chaired by the Prime Minister had approved of the new fare structures on three separate occasions.

When asked why there were three approvals, he said the fares were a "publicly sensitive subject, which needed to be looked at very carefully".

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