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According to The Sun Daily, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) will soon have the power to issue vocational driving licences across Malaysia by 2017. The move will see the Road Transport Department (JPJ) transfer its authority to do so over to SPAD, allowing it (JPJ) to focus on producing safer drivers and motorcyclists for private vehicles instead.

The long term plan will effectively provide SPAD total solitary control of the enforcement of commercial vehicles, including taxis. SPAD’s plans include centralising the vocational driving courses according to zones and to minimise cost by implementing the practices of Rapid Academy, a training arm under Prasarana Malaysia Berhad.

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has already given the green light to SPAD’s proposal, which will allow it take control of vocational driving courses, plus the issuance of licences for Goods Vehicle Licence (GDL), Public Service Vehicle (PSV) and conductor.

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SPAD will look to overhaul the vocational driving curriculum syllabus should it be granted the power to do so, sources told The Sun Daily. Under its new training regime, the commission aims to produce better vocational drivers by full-scale regulation of the commission’s Safety, Health and Environment Code of Practice.

SPAD chief executive officer Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah, when speaking to the newspaper, confirmed the commission’s intention to take control of vocational driving licence nationwide. “That is the plan but we need to present it to the Cabinet and finalise discussions with RTD. But this matter will take some time,” he said.

To ensure a smooth transition, the commission is required to discuss with various stakeholders that include the Transport Ministry, police, JPJ, Road Safety Department, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros), driving school establishments and industry players. A detailed paper is expected to be presented to Cabinet for approval in January.

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However, the move drew some doubt on the commission’s capability to tackle the task. A senior JPJ officer told the newspaper, “Does SPAD have the resources and capabilities for this job? It is not easy as it also involves medical check-up, annual licence renewal and the candidate for PSV and GDL must also possess the D car licence with at least a two-year probationary period with a clean record, which is currently under JPJ’s authority.”

Additionally, a Transport Ministry official stated that SPAD’s authority is limited to Peninsular Malaysia. With zero absence in Sabah and Sarawak, the official questioned on the feasibility of a dual system (Peninsular and East Malaysia) for vocational drivers in the country.

Do you think SPAD should assume control of the enforcement of commercial vehicles in the country, or should the JPJ continue on with this duty?