In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessing and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w
Every self will taste death. You would be paid your wages in full on the Day of Rising. Anyone who is distanced from the Fire and admitted to the Garden has triumphed. The life of this world is just the enjoyment of delusion. - Qur'an, 3:185
ON my way to and from work, the express bus in which I travel would pass a huge building which houses exhibition lots at one side of Lebuh Selandar-Sungai Udang. A few lots of the building are occupied by the Melaka Transportation Museum. From the road I could see a few vehicles inside the museum as its wall was made of glass.
For weeks now, outside the building, there stands a double decked red bus - one of the two 'infamous' old London bus bought by the state government slightly more than three years ago. These two buses (made in 1981) were imported from London Bus Export in 2007, with each costing RM200,000. For more than a year now, both buses are no longer plying the tourist belt in the historical city.
It is a sad episode indeed after spending some RM500,000 (including installing air conditioners amounting to RM56,000 and major repair works), the old buses are not running on the Melaka roads as initially planned. Imagine the buses could only be used for a period of less than three years; so was it a smart idea for the state government to spend hundreds thousand of ringgit just to buy those 'junk' items?
One of the old buses was spotted outside the Melaka Transportation Museum, left idle there; but where is other one? Recently Melaka Chief Minister, Dato' Seri Mohd Ali Rustam unveiled mysteries surrounding those 'lost' London old buses.
Acknowledging that both buses are out of service for now, he informed that one of them would be made a temporary exhibit at the Melaka Transportation Museum in Ayer Keroh. So, the bus I saw outside the museum was 'readied' to be exhibited there. But for weeks now, it was left in the shine and rain outside the building.
It was reported in a local press recently that the bus which would be placed temporary at the museum now belongs to the Hang Tuah Jaya Municipal Council (MPHTJ). The other bus is owned by the Melaka Historical City Council (MBMB). Previously, both buses were operated by Panorama Cultural & Tourism Sdn Bhd (PMCT), the Melaka State government investment arm.
The MPHTJ's bus had been out of service and left idle at MBMB compound since September last year as the replacement parts were costly and difficult to get as they had to be imported from England.
Ali said it was better to make the bus part of the museum's exhibits than to leave it idle while waiting for the spare parts to arrive. "We have to think carefully about what to do with the bus due to the cost incurred and we have to ensure that we make a pragmatic decision when ordering the replacement parts," the paper quoted Ali as saying.
For 'old bus lovers', don't feel sad and down as there is good news about the other bus; Mohd Ali announced that it is undergoing repairs at a workshop in Sungai Udang and it is expected to resume operations soon.
It is undergoing repairs at a cost of RM140,000! Melaka City Mayor, Zainal Abu confirmed the cost incurred to repair MBMB bus was RM140,000 as the replacement parts had to be imported. Wow, the cost of repairing the bus is almost equals to its price tag! So, what’s a brilliant idea and way of spending the people's money.
Regarding the MPHTJ bus, council president, Sapiah Haron said that RM40,000 would be allocated for the repairs on its bus. Thus, thousands and thousands of ringgit had and would be spend on those two London buses which started its services on August 14, 2007.
The buses, then run by PMCT frequently broke down, and as result had been stalled since September last year. In short they were roadworthy only for a few years; the big question is who purpose and decide that the state government to buy those 'old buses'?
Why only now do the top guns acknowledge and realize that it was difficult and expensive to get the bus spare parts and not had thought of ahead about it when they embarked on the project in 2007?
While the two old London buses are out of service, PMCT now runs a fleet of Panorama buses servicing Melaka city and the surrounding areas. It was reported recently that the state government had spent some RM2.35 million in purchasing 10 new 40-seater coaches from Scomi Engineering & Logistics Sdn Bhd for its Panorama bus service in a move to upgrade Melaka’s public transportation system.
If the Melaka 'infamous' London buses are 'grounded', the state's main bus terminal, sections of Melaka Sentral is now under heavy repair works especially its express bus platforms since the ground is sinking.
At one section of the platform, an area of about four meters by two meters had been closed to the public since it was under repair; tiles were removed while the floors have been drilled and now left with half a meter deep hole to make way for new concrete works and slabs.
The sinking condition of the platform is not subjected to that section only but almost all areas where passengers would board the buses.
The bus platforms in Melaka Sentral had started showing cracks several years ago even though it had only been used since May 2004 after being officially opened by the then Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Melaka Sentral sits on 46.6 acres of land in Peringgit, cost RM53 million to build, consists of three main components – the bus and taxi terminals, the central market and the bazaar. Now ugly cracks could be seen along the bus boarding platforms.
Tiles are broken; their sharp edges posing a danger to unsuspecting passengers. The uneven floor due to the sinking ground condition; has made the condition worse.
Some time ago the central market building too was declared unsafe and was closed to give way to repair works after cracks were found in the building. During that period traders had to do business in the market parking lot.
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