Govt announces half-a-billion ringgit fund to improve public transport
FMT News May 02, 2019
KUALA LUMPUR: The government today announced plans for a RM500 million fund to improve the country’s public transport. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said under the fund, companies involved in public transport will be offered a 2% financing rate. The fund, to be managed by Bank Pembangunan Malaysia, may be used to purchase buses, taxis and other public transportation vehicles. In his speech, he had cited Goal 11 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which calls for making cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, especially in light of rapid urbanisation. He added that Malaysia’s urbanisation rate is estimated to reach a peak of 80% by 2020. “Reforming urban transportation can serve as a strong catalyst for achieving that sustainable development goal,” he said, especially in improving the quality of air in urban areas. “This reflects the government’s ‘entrepreneurial state’ mission, where the government will support and provide incentives to strategic sectors such as public transportation. “These sectors may not necessarily be commercially attractive for the ordinary investor, but have potential to trigger an exponential multiplier effect to our growing economy, and improving people’s quality of life,” he said during his opening speech at the launch of the Public Transportation Fund. The transportation fund is the third of its kind managed by Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Berhad. The previously launched Digital Industry Fund and Sustainable Development Fund were also facilitated through Bank Pembangunan. “The government hopes to catalyse the participation and collaboration of the private sector in these strategic areas in a mature and transparent way,” he added. Lim added, there was a need to take advantage of technology to help bridge the gap between the first mile and last mile elements of the transportation system. “Digital solutions may also be used to make the transport system flow more smooth, resulting in less crowded trains that are also punctual.” He said it may even be used to provide real-time updates on traffic conditions and service interruptions to passengers, live estimation on their journey time, and WiFi access. Zaiton Mohd Hassan, chairman of Bank Pembangunan, told reporters that only registered companies in Malaysia, and those with more than 50% of shares owned by Malaysians, would be eligible for financing under the fund.