A few years ago, Mahathir commented that if the amount of money given to the bumiputras, were to be given to the Chinese, they would have turned any business venture into a success. I do not know what his motives were for saying that, just like he once said that 90% of the income tax were paid by the Chinese. Were these to spur the Malays to work harder or were they said to make the Chinese look more like some money-grabbing freaks. Now what have this got to do with our transportation system that have gone awry?
Back in the 60s and 70s, when many of the bus companies were managed by the Chinese and the Indians [mainly the Chinese], companies like Toong Foong, Len Seng and Foh Hup, to name three, were operating profitably. Taking into account that during those days, the commuters were less in numbers compared with today and furthermore, the road infrastructure, especially those used by the so-called 'stage coach'-es, were atrocious. There were pot-holes galore from KL to Singapore or to Penang, not forgetting that sometimes, there would be some sink-holes especially in the Perak area. The type of seats used were the most uncomfortable I ever come across, and many of us ended up at the end of our journey with an aching hiney. Today, the commuters have increased many folds and the roads, I mean, the highways are now so much better. It is now like a breeze travelling to either Singapore or Penang, or even to the East Coast. So what went wrong? How could these bus companies be facing loses of such magnitude? I believe it is in the way they manage the business, simply put - planning and control.
But within the Malay-sian context, there is this lacklustre attitude in managing the business knowing very well that at the end of the day, government bailouts will be inevitable.