A common scene in Kuala Lumpur, with almost daily gridlock due to heavy traffic flow. -NSTP/Azhar Ramli

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Transport Policy 2019-2030 (NTP 2019-2030) launched by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday was introduced at the right time to deal with the nation’s burgeoning transportation needs.

National Road Safety Council member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the newly-launched policy, which is a blueprint for the transport sector from 2019 to 2030, charts the way forward for Malaysia in its quest to become a developed nation.

“Transportation plays a key and vital role in the development of any nation, as it drives economic growth.

“A nation's economy will only grow if there is an efficient, comprehensive, sustainable and competitive transport system to serve the needs of the nation,” he said in a statement today.

Lee said that for years, Malaysians have been expressing their disappointment over the country’s lack of an efficient public transport system, forcing them to rely on their own transport for mobility, which has subsequently led to traffic congestion.

“Therefore, we should welcome the government's plan to emphasise on improving railway networks and services, as it will help increase public usage and the transportation of freight.

“We must reduce the transportation of goods on our roads, as it could help ease congestion and reduce accidents involving heavy vehicles,” Lee said.

When unveiling the NTP 2019-2030, Dr Mahathir said that railway services in the country are underutilised, adding that he hopes that more people would use them in the future.

National Road Safety Council member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye says the National Transport Policy 2019-2030 (NTP 2019-2030) charts the way forward for Malaysia in its quest to become a developed nation. -NSTP/Zulfadhli Zulkifli.

Lee said he is also urging the government to focus on the safety aspect of transportation by educating users of public transportation on how to appreciate facilities, and using them with responsibility and adhering to etiquette.

“At the same time, law enforcement must also be strengthened to make our roads safe, as road deaths are far too serious to be ignored,” he added.

It was reported that Malaysia has the second-highest road fatality risk among Asean countries, with estimated losses from road accidents amounting to RM8.8 billion in 2017.

In the same year, 63 per cent of the 6,740 people killed in road accidents were motorcyclists, and on average, more than 4,000 motorcyclists die from road accidents annually.

“With better public transport, I'm confident that more road users can reduce the use of their vehicles, including small motorcycles that are prone to accidents,” Lee said.

The NTP 2019-2030, which acts as a guide to upholding sustainable transport networks and services, consists of five thrusts and 23 strategies.

The first thrust aims to strengthen governance to create a conducive environment for the transport sector; while the second thrust seeks to optimise, build and maintain the country’s transport infrastructure, services and networks to maximise efficiency.

The third thrust aims to enhance safety, integration, connectivity, and accessibility for a seamless journey; while the fourth thrust involves efforts to green the transport ecosystem.

Finally, the fifth thrust aims to expand Malaysia’s transportation global footprint and promote the internationalisation of transport services.