1. Peninsular Malaysia

Land Public Transport Act 2010 (“LPTA”) is the current applicable law and regulations for rail transportation in Peninsular Malaysia with jurisdiction over Peninsular Malaysia and excluding Penang Hill railway and Sabah railway . The passing of the LPTA was aimed to improve the entire transportation sector by reforming all regulatory operations under one single body i.e. the Land Public Transport Commission (“LPTC”).

The LPTC or Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat (“the Comission”) is a Malaysian statutory body established on 3rd June 2010, following the passing of the Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat Act 2010 by the Parliament in May 2010 . It is set up to plan for, regulate and enforce rules concerning land based public and freight transport in Malaysia. The Commission gained its full authority on 31st January 2011 with the gazetting of the Land Public Transport Act 2010.

All railway functions of the Department of Railways have been taken over by the Commission from 31st January 2011. The followings are some of the key functions :

• Submission and verification of the Railway Scheme to the Minister-in-charge
• Issuance of railway license
• Approval for the opening of railway lines/routes
• Periodic inspection
• Project monitoring
• Railway protection zone

Since its establishment, the Commission has injected a new incentive into public transport planning by introducing public transport master plans for the country and also for the localised regions.

The master plans comprehensively detail the Commission and Government’s goals and vision for public transport, while at the same time specifying accompanying initiatives designed to raise the overall level of service and safety standards of public transport. The Commission has also been vested with the followings:

• Planning power – Establishing a Master Plan to ensure a comprehensive, integrated and sustainable infrastructure development.
• Regulatory power – Monitoring and regulating standard of performance of the industry’s operators through licensing.
• Enforcement power – Encompassing powers to audit, investigate, compound / suspend / revoke operators’ licenses. Additionally, to seize and auction vehicles for offenses relating to the illegal use of vehicles .

Following the enactment of LPTA, the Commission took over the functions of the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board, Department of Railways and all tourism vehicles licensing function of the Ministry of Tourism in Peninsular Malaysia.
The Commission is the regulator that reviews railway schemes and licences applications before making recommendations to the Ministry of Transportation. The LPTA provides that any person who intends to construct a railway would need to make an application and deposit a railway scheme that contains the following scope:

(a) the type and system of the proposed railway;
(b) the general routes;
(c) the safety aspects; and
(d) the proposed fare of the proposed railway system .

Under the LPTA, constructing railways without ministerial approval or a licence is an offence, with penalties of up to RM500,000.00 and / or three years of imprisonment . Vocational licences for train drivers , and publishing timetables and fares are also mandatory requirements under the LPTA.

As the central authority for managing all aspects of public transportation, the Commission which is directly under the purview of the Prime Minister is responsible for drawing up public transport policies, plans and regulations covering all aspects of land public transport.

2. East Malaysia

The applicable legislation for rail in East Malaysia is the Railway Ordinance 1914 and the Railway (Tariff Book) Rules 1979. The Railway Ordinance only specifies the rules relating to the operation of railway but does not specify any licensing requirement for constructing a railway. The Railways Act 1991 unfortunately specifically excludes Sabah railway while the LPTA only applies in Peninsular Malaysia. At present, the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board, Department of Railways and the Ministry of Tourism continue to exercise their respective powers in the state of Sabah and Sarawak regarding rail transportation in East Malaysia.

AZURA IDAYU ZULKIFLI, Associate of Naqiz & Partners