No comeback for SPAD

pic by BERNAMA

THE government has no plans to reinstate the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) following its abolishment in 2018.

It was replaced by the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) on Jan 1 last year under the Transport Ministry, which has allowed all planning and developments related to transportation to be better implemented, Deputy Transport Minister Hasbi Habibollah (picture) said.

SPAD was previously under the Prime Minister’s (PM) Department. “Due to this factor, the ministry so far has no plans to restart SPAD,” Hasbi told the Dewan Negara in response to an inquiry by Senator Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Shah Abu Shah.

He said the ministry, however, is looking to strengthen APAD’s role.

“A special committee composed of stakeholders will be established to determine its direction,” Hasbi said.

The agency oversees planning and developing of the land public transport sector, but lacks enforcement powers, unlike SPAD.

To avoid overlapping of functions in the land transport enforcement, the Road Transport Department (JPJ) is given the authority to carry out enforcement of the Land Public Transport Act 2010 (Act 715).

Deputy Minister in the PM’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Shabudin Yahaya had previously said the government was looking to reinstate agencies disbanded by Pakatan Harapan (PH), but with different specifications.

“We are now waiting for reports by the Public Service Department and the Finance Ministry on the preparations required in terms of necessity and financial capacity to reinstate these departments and agencies,” Shabudin said earlier this month.

He was responding to a supplementary question by Senator Datuk Othman Aziz, who asked if the government would proceed with PH’s plan to downsize the civil service and restore agencies that were abolished like the National Council of Professors (MPN) and Special Affairs Department (JASA).

Following a historic election win in May 2018, then PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced plans to downsize the public sector as part of a process to cut spending to reduce the burden on the nation’s financial health.

Dr Mahathir said some agencies such as JASA had become a controversial propaganda unit of Barisan Nasional, while the MPN had become increasingly affected by political factors.

He said the civil service had also become bloated, with the number of civil servants estimated to be at 1.7 million as of last year, compared to a million in 2003.