In Klang Valley and the rest of the country, spatial planning and development approvals fall entirely under individual local councils (PBTs) and state jurisdictions. Local roads that connect neighbourhood parcels, despite within the ambit of local councils, follow land developer-led planning and financing, resulting in huge swath of land divisions and cul-de-sacs.
To make things worse, the budgeting, planning and implementation of trunk roads and highways that interconnect municipal and state jurisdictions fall entirely under the Federal Government (i.e. Road Works Ministry’s Highway Planning Unit, Road Works Department’s Infrastructure and Transport Engineering Branch, Malaysian Highway Authority).
Without a total overhaul of the present spatial and transport governance structure, the proposed Growth Strategy and Transport Grid Plan cannot be implemented. Looking at transportation aspect alone, a metropolitan-governing body that integrates both road and public transportation planning is direly needed for Klang Valley, as illustrated in the below diagram on international benchmarking for urban transport governance.
The Klang Valley Spatial and Transport Coordination Blueprint calls for a new statutory body with regional, conurbation and metropolitan-level planning authority over Klang Valley municipalities. The agency, which can be named as Klang Valley Spatial and Transport Coordination Authority (SPARTAN), is proposed to be a cross-supervisory authority, consisting of membership from local authorities and state and federal agencies, in charge of planning and implementation coordination towards Sustainable Urban Nodes and Transport Network (SANTAN) in Klang Valley.
SPARTAN is to be chaired by an independent with extensive backgrounds in regional planning coordination, and supervised by a board consisting of:
- Selangor State Exco Members in charge of local government, public transport, housing, and infrastructure and public utilities
- Minister of Federal Territories (as Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur’s and PlanMalaysia’s commander-in-chief)
- Minister of Transport (as federal transport commander-in-chief)
- Minister of Public Works (as federal road infrastructure commander-in-chief)
- Chair of Prasarana (as asset-owner of Klang Valley public transport)
SPARTAN shall be given mandate to manage federal-based revenue streams such as fuel taxes and highway toll surcharges towards covering operational subsidy (Federal-initiated monthly pass), capital subsidy (Federal-backed bonds and assets), and bus lanes and priority measure infrastructure (Federal grants to municipalities and Public Works Department).
Pooled municipal proceeds such as parking taxes shall be used to improve bus-to-bus and bus-to-rail interchanges, individual bus stops and pedestrian improvements within urban centres and along frequent bus routes.
Federal-funded revenue streams can be withheld from municipalities that fail to adhere by the Growth Strategy (e.g. failing to commit in improving urban centre walkability, resulting in unplanned urban growth outside the intended urban centres and along frequent bus lines). For example, a municipality can face the wrath of its constituents if the monthly bus pass does not work in rail stations and on buses that operate within their jurisdiction, or if a certain bus improvement scheme in their locality is being halted.