Driving cars in Malaysia should be a luxury rather than a necessity, Johor lawmaker tells Putrajaya

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Opposition lawmaker Liew Chin Tong claimed driving has become a necessity for half of Malaysia’s population as there are very few first and last mile connections on the road. — Photo by Choo Choy May

By Ben Tan

Saturday, May 28, 2022 1:34 PM MYT

JOHOR BARU, May 28 — The federal government must find the political will to make private car driving a luxury rather than a necessity, opposition MP Liew Chin Tong said today.

Assemblyman Perling said driving has become a necessity for half of Malaysia’s population as there are very few first and last mile connections on the road, even for those who live in the nation’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.

“Research has shown that whenever petrol prices increase in Malaysia, the number of road deaths increases,” he said in a statement.

He said that raising prices at the pump without ensuring that there is adequate and reliable public transport for at least 40-50% of the population would force many low-income earners to adopt motorcycling as a cheaper alternative to car.

“There is a direct correlation between rising fuel prices and the number of people switching to motorcycles, and therefore the number of deaths and road accidents,” he said, without providing statistics for support his argument.

He urged the government to expand its public transport, especially buses.

“Any time global oil prices climb to $100 a barrel, there will be a panic call to cut subsidy bills.

“According to Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, with the current high price of crude oil, Malaysia’s oil subsidies alone could reach up to RM30 billion this year, almost double what was originally expected. “Liew said.

He also backed DAP General Secretary Anthony Loke Siew Fook, who yesterday urged the government to resolve traffic jams in Malaysia, particularly in city centres.

MP for Seremban Loke claimed that traffic in Malaysia had doubled from pre-pandemic times in 2019 as more people returned to work.

Liew, who is also the head of the Johor DAP, said reducing the number of private cars on the road will also go a long way in reducing carbon emissions, thus effectively slowing down climate change.

“Food, traffic, public transport and flood mitigation, among others, should be what we talk about as these issues transcend racial boundaries and affect every Malaysian,” he said.

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