LETTER

Pakatan's first white elephant?

Moaz Yusuf Ahmad

Published
Modified 10 Aug 2009, 6:09 am

There is no beer at the Klang Sentral bus terminal. There aren't many buses either.

And this week we learned that while the Selangor exco in charge of infrastructure was debating beer and politics in Shah Alam, one part of the controversial Klang Sentral terminal closed its doors.

It only took nine months for Terminal B to shut down. And for many businesses, public transport operators and bus users, this was not unexpected. Back in 2008 we knew that it would just be a matter of time.

When it was announced in late 2008 that the Selangor government would go ahead with the relocation of buses to Klang Sentral, a great hue and cry was raised. Traders complained about the loss of business and the higher cost of operating at Klang Sentral. Bus operators complained about the inconvenience and the higher cost of operating at Klang Sentral. And passengers complained about the inconvenience and the extra out-of-pocket costs.

We at Transit complained about an urban planning policy that seemed dedicated to moving public transport terminals to suburban areas - instead of making them better enforced and more efficient. But our appeal, like the others, fell on deaf ears. And our suggestions, like the others, fell on deaf ears.

Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim stepped in when the political tension was reaching a height, ordered that the terminal be opened, and then stepped out of the picture. But the controversy was never really resolved.

Nine months later, the intercity and express bus operators seem to be tolerating Klang Sentral Terminal A, but Terminal B is a 'ghost town'. Wawasan Sutera bus company never shifted to Klang Sentral. Cityliner shifted but then moved back to the old terminal. And RapidKL was the final bus company to give up and move back to the North Klang terminal.

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What makes this even more unfortunate is that the old Klang North bus terminal - which was urban, centrally-located and very effective - has not been reopened.

So the streets of Klang are still a mess, with buses blocking the streets around the old terminal. Despite the wish for the Klang Local Council and Selangor government to build a new piece of infrastructure, the old terminal has shown itself to be tough to replace.

Will the Klang Sentral terminal become the Pakatan government's first white elephant project?

If they continue on this road, it is only a matter of time.