Wednesday 15 June 2016

Bus story of Iskandar Malaysia

Saw this rather interesting story at Bernama's website,

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 (Bernama) -- The implementation cost for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system for Iskandar Malaysia is expected to cost not more than RM3 billion, said Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) Chief Executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim.

"At the moment, we do not have the final value, however, it is expected to cost not more than RM3 billion, which covers infrastructure cost for building the line, operation cost including buses and several other application costs.

"It also covers (cost) during the intiial years which may have a shortfall in its operations," he told reporters during the breaking of fast organised by IRDA and Medini Iskandar here Tuesday.

I was like"Wow! That must be quite a sophisticated bus system to cost so much just for JB and its surrounding areas, which is Iskandar Malaysia".

Ismail said it's "not more than RM3 billion". So, is it RM2.9 billion or RM2.99 billion?

I also wonder whether Irda is going to build the "infrastructure" and "line",  as well as foot the bill for "operation cost including buses and several other application costs".

And if that's so, who is going to get the "not more than RM3 billion" project.

As you read this,  do bear in mind that we are talking about buses here, not some other more sophisticated public transport system such as LRT, MRT or whatever.

Well, if they are really going to spend that much, the bus system in JB better be really good after this.

I was actually frustrated with Irda over the matter for a long time.

Public transport has always been an issue in JB and that of course include its poor public bus system.

When Irda came into being in 2007, things seemed set to get better all over JB and its surrounding areas.

It was an exciting time as a  lot of things were happening back then.

Unfortunately, the standard of public transport in JB remains more or less the same till this day.

I was actually quite chummy with Ismail's predecessor, the second Irda chief executive  Harun Johari.

Once, I did asked him to explain about Irda's plan to improve at least the bus system.

That was in 2009.

Harun is a very efficient and no nonsense guy, but I remember it very well how he seemed to be at loss when I brought up the subject.

He asked me to give him some time as he was doing something about it.

I was okay with it as Harun had just assumed the post at that time.

He got cracking right away and less than a week later set up a task force to handle just the bus system.

If I remember it correctly, the team had a rather funny name - "Harimau Belang" or something like that.

A few months later, a fleet of buses bearing Iskandar Malaysia's logo started plying the JB roads to improve connectivity, especially in areas not fully covered by normal public buses.

It was not perfect but at least there was an improvement.

Harun told me that it was a stop-gap measure until Irda could come up with a totally new public transport system in Iskandar Malaysia which not only include busses but also rail lines and others.

Unfortunately, less than a year later, Harun was removed from his post and replaced by Ismail.

Harun's fault I was told, was that he was not good at playing politics.

With him gone, the effort to improve public transport in Iskandar Malaysia seemed to be going nowhere.

There were lot of talks but those were just it.

That was seven years ago.

To get a glimpse of Iskandar Malaysia's bus system today, please go to these links to read stories about it,

Well, I really don't fancy having to rely on public buses in JB.

But many people really don't have much choice, don't they?

Anyway, I'm also wondering why it took Irda seven years to come up with a plan to spend "less than RM3 billion" to improve the public bus system down here.

Can't they did it back then?

Or is it that only now they found the right people who can "handle" the "less than RM3 billion" contract?

Whatever it is, I hope they do this project fast so that people in JB who need a better public bus service will not have to suffer anymore.

Don't let them wait for another seven years.

And please, if it's true that the project costs "less than RM3 billion",  please make sure it's outcome really worth that much.

Duit rakyat tu, okay.


  1. Well, in penang, a feasibility study could rack up costs of 1/3 of a billion, so I would guess at RM 3 billion for buses ought to do it right for these guys. Don't you think so?

    Pencinta Tanah Melayu

  2. Annie,

    //Wow! That must be quite a sophisticated bus system to cost so much just for JB and its surrounding areas//

    It is obvious you don't know very much about buses.

    Do you know how much Persian carpets cost to lay in a bus nowadays?

    And leather seats are not cheap either because it is hard to find leather seats which are big enough to fit in a bus.

    Also, a big seat needs a big piece of leather and a big piece of leather needs a big cow.

    It takes a bit of time and a bit of money to grow a big cow, you know.

    The solid-gold headlights are a real pain to install because light bulbs used by buses are very hot due to their brightness.

    24K gold is difficult to work with under the best of circumstances, you know.

    //Well, if they are really going to spend that much, the bus system in JB better be really good after this.//

    Yupe!! No problems.

    JB will have the bestest bus system in the whole wide Universe and Johoreans will travel in style and comfort.

    100% promise you.

    //Harun's fault I was told, was that he was not good at playing politics.//

    Now, now, we do not want someone who can do a good job, OK?

    People might start expecting ALL government officials to do a good job, OK?

    It is much much better to have a poorly-performing government official who is an expert at how to make excuses, and what excuses to make when things are going badly.

    This way, other members of the team can learn how to make good excuses next time when things go badly for those team members.

    Now, if the Tengku Mahkota of Johor or the Sultan of Johor came out and said something positive about this, I may feel more comfortable about the RM3billion being spent.

    But I suspect this expenditure is out of their hands, although the TMJ is not known to be a shy person when it comes to talking about wanting good things for Johor :)


    P.S. Damn!! I have to stop admiring this TMJ because I am from Selangor!! As they say, no reason for it, just our policy. :)


  3. Ini JB punya bus tak tau lay yy apa macam mau cekap lor rr , lalam bandar punya bus semua tatak tentu maa aa kalang-kalang atak kalang- kalang tatak .

    Wa manyak ingat itu JB & Iskandar punya bus ,macam bus tunjuk-tunjuk saja maa aa ,Manyak kali Wa nampak olang kasi tahan pon tatak mau belenti maa aa ,itu pasat Lu tengok manyak itu bus semua kosong ,itu bus driver jalan-jalan saja lor rr .

    Lagi sikalang cekap mau improve , ai yaaa !sutak belapa kali improve tapi itu macam juga maa aa ,wang habit , driver lapat keleja ,lakyat tengok saja maa aa tatak sesuai guana , apa macam guna ,sukak-sukak jalan maa aa.

  4. My salary not more than RM2000. Jibby pocketed not more than RM3 billion. Holy mackerel, yo bus system cost no more than RM3 billion also! Any more to come wise guys?

  5. Maybe it's a subtle way to poke Najib's RM2.6 Billion by saying "expected to cost not more than RM3 billion".

    "....which covers infrastructure cost for building the line, operation cost including buses and several other application costs."

    I think they intended to build an independent infrastructure altogether, so that their buses would not be caught in traffic-jams. It's unmanned and electrically driven. Echoing Najib's Rakyat diDahulukan....most probably, free ride for all, including foreign workers and visitors.

  6. Under Jibby Longhands, we now deal in billions. 3 billion rm for bus system, 2.6 billion rm as pocket money, 6.5 billion DOLLARS in potential fine. ...

    Fuyoh! Soon our ringgit will be like during Germany's Weimar Republic where a box of matches cost billions and a loaf of bread trillions. People used wheelbarrows to carry heaps of marks to buy stuff.

    Or like Japanese banana money after the war. At least, those two incidences of hyperinflation were caused by wars.

    Our problem is caused by a shameless couple plus their dedak guzzling zombies.

    1 Malaysia Dah Bankrap. We love you PM. Thank You PM.


  7. Malaysia is run by monkeys. These monkeys are the same as those from Venezuela.
    Price for peanuts must have gone up.


    1. Malaysia is run by monkey's, for the monkeys I presume ,but not me !.

  8. Focus, focus, ..... fasting and feeling his sweet love in our hearts

  9. Hi Annie,

    Thank you for highlighting the public transportation woes in our JB.

    By now, the BRT should be already at Phase 2,. At least according to the original transportation blueprint. (link below). But it seems that the plan is far better than the execution.

    Also, I heard (correct me if I'm wrong or you have more accurate info) that Prasarana tried to enter the JB market, like what they did in Penang, Kuantan and Kamunting. Somehow, IRDA people and the PAJ (Pengangkutan Awam Johor) blokes are too proud for Prasarana. Also, I heard that the former PAJ boss is running a nice steakhouse in UDA with his wife.

    Nevertheless, public transportation improvement in JB is long overdue. Tak guna kompang JB tu best city lah, city of the future lah ape lah tapi public transportation hampeh..

    A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars, it's where the rich take public transport.


    1. Kim,

      //A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars, it's where the rich take public transport.//

      That is an incredibly profound statement.

      It was sooo bleeding obvious as soon as you pointed it out.

      I am so embarrassed and so totally jealous that I did not think of it first!


    2. "A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars, it's where the rich take public transport."

      I just hope you're not remotely referring to the red dot down south ... there, only the very rich have cars and for the poor what choice is theirs?

    3. Gladiator,

      Please don't beat yourself up and please stop being embarrassed. Sorry though I forgot to quote the Mayor of Bogota for his words.

      Anon 15.33,

      Our neigbour is indeed a rich country. Statistics can back that up. But to call it developed... I don't know... Personally, I can put a big question mark on that statement there.



  10. I think in JB we should resort to "bas mini" idea. There are lot of buses on the main road (city center to Ulu Tiram, Kota Tinggi, Pasir Gudang etc) but there is only a few (or none)entering the residential area ("Taman-taman" along the Jalan Tebrau) or industrial zone (desa cemerlang, johor jaya, tebrau). People have to walk far to the main road to catch the buses.

    Mini buses are suitable because they can maneuver narrow roads (like in Majidee) and excellent in 'round trip" routes ( I believe they can cover Desa Cemerlang's industrial zone in 10 minutes or so). They worked wonder in Shah Alam before being replaced by RapidKL.

    I think the cost is lower too since school buses operates similar like this. maybe some will say this idea is "backward" or "conventional" but the public transportation in JB is already years behind.

    1. Mazlan Mohd Jadi 16 June 2016 at 15:19,

      //some will say this idea is "backward" or "conventional"//

      OK, it's backward and conventional :) There I've said it.


      //I believe they can cover Desa Cemerlang's industrial zone in 10 minutes or so//

      Imagine a bus every 10 minutes???!! Wow!!

      It might be "backward" and "conventional" but a bus every 10 minutes is awesome and I'll bet that is as good as any advanced country!!


    2. "cover the area in 10 minutes" for a bus. If we have 2 buses in the same route, it takes 5 minutes for a bus to arrive. If there are more, the closer the time interval. Come on, think logically lah. No need to be sarcastic. :)

      Once there are Iskandar buses in my "kampung" route, averaging 5 peoples per trip and now nowhere to be seen because "tak balik modal"

  11. Every 10 mins? Joke of the day. 100 mins maybe. Cannot blame Malaysians or Malaysia for being unproductive. It's the transportation system and the traffic congestion that is causing all the delays and heartaches.

  12. RM3 Billion is not the bus and its system only. It includes the infrastructure of providing a 'dedicated lane" only for bus on the roadway. That means it include widening of existing roadway.