KUALA LUMPUR: Amendments to the Road Transport Act (RTA) are most timely and will resolve many issues related to land transport infrastructure and road fatalities, say the Malaysia Institute of Transport (MITRANS) and the Association for the Improvement of Mass Transit (TRANSIT).
The two advocacy groups said the amendments to the RTA, which would be re-tabled in Parliament next week, would also see changes in the way Malaysians travel by road.
The amendments include those related to the registration of electric cars, the implementation of automated enforcement system to curb dangerous driving and the formation of the Land Transport Commission.
"It is definitely high time for the Road Transport Act to be amended to include the three important elements which will comprehensively address the road safety and public transportation problems Malaysians are tangled with today," said Associate Professor Sabariah Mohamad of Universiti Teknologi Mara and Director of MITRANS.
She said the amendments would objectively re-educate drivers who had been abusing the traffic laws.
Sabariah said the implementation of the Automated Enforcement System (AES) would help curb traffic offenders and lead to better driving practices among motorists.
Muhammad Zulkarnain Hamzah from TRANSIT said the association viewed the amendments to the RTA as necessary to fulfill the country's mobility needs in the future.
"We hope that the government will not just address the problem of road fatalities and congestion on the surface level, but focus on transforming our present mobility infrastructure and urban environment from being car-oriented to people-oriented.
"Kuala Lumpur and other high density cities in Malaysia must quickly implement traffic-restraint and transit-priority policies, and not depend entirely on rail-based mass transit for people to shift from cars to public transport."
Muhammad Zulkarnain said aggressive and risk-taking behaviour had become the norm among drivers in Malaysia as they become increasingly affected by congestion and travel delay and competed with each other to arrive at their destinations on time, while the road capacity had not increased at all.
Under amendments to the RTA, Malaysia will embark on the implementation of the AES, which uses hi-tech digital cameras to capture motorists violating traffic rules, including running red lights and speeding.
Malaysia has emerged as one of the countries with high road deaths per population, with 6,640 deaths from road accidents recorded in 2009.
Road accidents cost the economy some RM9bil last year, in terms of loss of lives and injury.
The Transport Ministry has targeted a long-term plan for "zero fatality vision" and studies by the ministry revealed that 60 to 70 percent of accidents were caused by speeding.
The ministry is also proposing amendments to the RTA to enable electric cars to be registered in Malaysia. Currently, electric vehicles cannot be registered as they do not have an engine and chassis number, which is a requirement when a vehicle is registered with the Road Transport Department.
The world's first mass-market electric cars will go on sale next month, and these cars are expected to hit Malaysian shores not too far down the road, especially with Proton planning to produce its own electric cars.
Meanwhile, the existence of the Land Transport Commission (LTC) to plan, regulate and enforce rules on land-based public and freight transport in Malaysia will also be dependent on the passing of the amended RTA.
Initially, LTC was to come into existence in September but the delay in RTA has resulted in the delay of its operations and its formulation of a public transport masterplan to ensure the holistic development of public transport in the country.
The commission had targeted 25 percent of the Klang Valley's population to use public transport by 2012.
The government's target under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015) is to improve the share of public transport from 12 percent in 2009 to 30 percent by 2015 in Greater Kuala Lumpur.
LTC's immediate target, as part of its masterplan, is to carry out five initiatives for the National Key Result Areas for urban public transport under the Government Transformation Programme.
Read the full article:http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?fi ... sec=nation