The government’s decision to halt the practice of allowing non-governmental organisations to sell special number plates is to ensure that revenue goes into the right stream, according to transport minister Anthony Loke. He said that the losses incurred with the practice was difficult to ascertain.

“It is difficult for me to estimate the leakages. A successful NGO would only have to pay the government RM1 million to get the plate, but the resale value could be roughly RM20 million per plate, so that itself is a huge loss of revenue to the government,” he said in an interview with The Star.

Responding to transportation-related questions in the interview, Loke said that despite the cancellation of the MRT3 project, the government was still committed to public transport, and that there will be continued development on that front even if there was a new national car in the mix.

“The new national car project will be further communicated by the prime minister. As far as the ministry is concerned, we are still committed to public transport. I don’t see it as a zero-sum game, in that if there is a national car we will not invest in public transport,” he explained.

“Although the government has cancelled MRT3 for now, we still want to increase connectivity with the MRT1 and MRT2. We need to invest more on public transport, and the MRT must be integrated with the transit bus system for better service areas near the stations,” he added.

Loke said that the government hopes to address the lack of seamless public transport beyond the Klang Valley, stating that the more practical method of improving service in these areas will be by having more buses on the road. He added that he is planning a complete review of the country’s public transport system to find appropriate solutions.

As for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), he said that a decision should be made soon on whether the project would continue or be deferred. “The ECRL is still subject to review, with the economic affairs ministry looking into it. There is no final decision as yet, as they are still looking at factors like cost and other implications. As of now, we just have to wait for the review. I’m not sure how long it will take but a decision should be announced soon,” he explained.