Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Can ride bicycle from JB to Singapore meh? (Part 2)

Map of route from Bukit Chagar CIQ to Woodlands Short explanation of the route used by kaki tambak on bicycles:
  • Park their car/motorcycles around Kim Teng Park and Jln Lumba Kuda
  • Ride their bicycle across the causeway and pass through both Checkpoints
  • Lock their bicycle at Woodlands Central
  • Coming back to JB is the reverse of above process
  • Jiak Lat! A kaki tambak pushing his broken down motorbike uphill. Reaching the 1st highest point. The 2nd highest point which is the new CIQ itself. The two highest point of this roller coaster route to the new CIQ are about 20 meters(5 storey high) above causeway. After the forceful opening of Bukit Chagar CIQ, kaki tambaks have to ride uphill and downhill on the extra roller coaster route(mark in red). And on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, you will also see loads of kaki tambak walking from Woodlands Central to Bukit Chagar CIQ.

    Can ride bicycle from JB to Singapore meh? (Part 1)

    Some pictures for those smiling skeptical faces (Click to enlarge) : Of course you can. I ride it everyday . Pak Cik still going strong. Buddy kaki tambaks on semi-pro bicycles.

    Saturday, May 23, 2009

    The Tuas Checkpoint Dilemma For Motorcyclist

    'To use or not to use?' For the many kaki tambak on motorcycles, they are faced with this perpetual dilemma of whether they should use travel daily by Tuas 2nd Link or not. Even non 2nd Link users will probably know that the reception of 2nd Link has been quite poor ever since it began operations. The horrendously long journey coupled with over the top toll rate has been met with disdained reception. However for this post, I want to focus on one issue Tuas Checkpoint that is not particular known by the general public. You see, during peak hours, the Tuas Checkpoint motorcycle section rarely operates at full capacity. Its an absolutely frustrating predicament that entraps fellow kaki tambak, everytime they are stuck at Tuas motorbike jam. Unlike its Woodlands Checkpoint, who does the commendable job of operating at its full capacity daily, during peak hours(5.30am-10am and 6pm-11pm). At Woodlands they also mix and match the differrent sections of the checkpoint according to the vehicles traffic at different time. To have a better understanding, we shall look at the basic structure availible at Tuas. Vehicles going into Singapore there 3 block: Block A1(16 counters) - Used for Cars Only. Block A2(16 counters) - Used for Cars when A1 is not in operation or sometimes partially opened for motorbikes. Block A3(32 Counters) - Specifically used for motorbikes only. Vehicles leaving Singapore there 3 block: Block D1(16 counters) - Used for Cars Only. Block D2(16 counters) - Used for Cars when D1 is not in operation or sometimes partially opened for motorbikes. Block D3(32 Counters) - Specifically used for motorbikes only. For a clearer illustration,last Thursday was a typical daily picture on the ground:
  • On 21 May 2009 5.50pm, I arrived at Tuas Checkpoint.
  • Block D1 - Opened for cars only
  • Block D2 - Not in operation
  • Block D3 - 7 out of the 24 manned counters were in operation(Counters43,48,52,53,54,55,56)
  • Block D3 - 3 out of the 6 automated counters were in operation(Counters 36,38,40)
  • Or a total of 10 counters were in operation
  • I was stuck in this particular motorbike jam for 35 mins. Those behind me, would probably be stuck there for more than an hour. Even if you ignore Block D2, there is still a very gross under utilization of the motorbikes section. So on that particular day(and most other days too), Tuas checkpoint only operated 31.25% of its motorbikes capacity. Its frustrating for motorcyclist to see such utter under utilization. We could only imagine if 10 more counters were in operation, we could have clear the checkpoint in half the time. Many kaki tambak are angry of Singapore Home Ministry for adequately addressing this issue. Adding to the frustration, motorcyclist pays a toll of SGD0.70 per direction at Tuas. Whereas it is free at Woddlands. SG Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng made a statement on the checkpoints traffic last year. Basically he points to the lack of manpower as a main source of the problem. He cites that ICA staff are overworked(too many OT),high number of resignation,too many untaken leave and etc etc. Well Mr Wong Kan Seng statement is too general and not clear on what is really wrong at Tuas Chechkpoint for motorcylist. It fails to answer:
  • Why is it possible that Woodlands Checkpoint have enough manpower to operate at full capacity?Why couldn't Tuas be the same?
  • Is traffic volume insufficient for deployment of more staff?
  • Is being stuck in a motorcycle jam for more than an hour not justifiable for more resources?
  • Does system equipment and hardware pose a problem to ICA?
  • Could there be improvement to Tuas manpower and work recheduling, to cater for peak hours traffic?
  • From chats during motorcycle jam, fellow kaki tambaks would hurl harsh(sometimes abusive) words against Tuas Checkpoint management. Many cursed the ICA for their hypocritical double standards. Some says the Officers in charge at Tuas, hates and discriminate Malaysian. Some labels the ICA officers as lazy bums. I don't agree with the extremism of their views. But I know where their frustration is coming from. This post is not intended to start a blaming session or something. It is just my hope that the grievances of motorcyclist at Tuas checkpoint could be highlighted to the general public.

    Thursday, May 21, 2009

    5.30pm At Woodlands Checkpoint

    This was the scene yesterday at Woodlands Checkpoint when I arrived 5.30pm. Was caught in the jam for around 35mins. This is what kaki tambak consider a moderate motorbike jam. Not particularly exhausting but very hot nonetheless.

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009

    Malaysia, a very cheap place to live?

    Case Study 1: Rechargeble AA batteries at a French Hypermarket located in Singapore City Center. The same Rechargeble AA batteries at French Hypermarket counterpart in JB. Price comparison: Malaysian Price = RM89.90 Singapore Price = SGD28.90 X 2.37 = RM68.49 Price Differrence = RM21.41 Percentage Difference = (21.41/68.49) X 100% = 31.26% Business Cost Comparison : 1) The batteries are made in China. Batteries cost should be the same. 2) Hypermarket wages: Malaysia (RM4/hour) and Singapore (SGD4/hour). Malaysian labour cost should be lower. 3) Rental of Premise: Overall, Malaysian rental cost should be lower. Malaysian Hypermarket location - JB residential area (15km from JB town). Singapore Hypermarket location - Prime retail space in one of Asia most expensive business district. The basic cost of doing business is lower in JB. But the same AA batteries are a whoping 31% more expensive in JB than Singapore. Most people jump to the conclusion that electronic stuff are just cheaper in Singapore. That is a very flawed view. The answer lies not with the Singaporean. For them its just a straighforward trading business. Be it batteries, mp3 players, LCD TV or even oranges - it is still just the business of buying and and selling basic stuff. The real question is why are things in Malaysia more expensive than they actually are? Or more specifically where are the hidden cost? Are AA batteries luxury items? Do they require Approve Permit for importing? What are duties imposed? Are the logistics and transportation cost too high? A lot more of our basic goods are unreasonable more expensive than they should be. Barisan Nasional has really screwed up the Malaysian economy big time. Hundreds of thousands flock to work in Singapore not just because of the strong Sing Dollar only. It is just that many could barely afford the basic things in their daily lives.

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Ong Tee Kiat Chop Chop JB Tour Of Duty - 1 Day Only!!

    Ong Tee Kiat touching down in JB early morning. North-South Highway not for the faint hearted. Better take helicopter. Much safer. The Ministry of Transport's Helicopter. I wonder if any other Minister also have their own chopper? Seems that our ever incoherent Dato Seri Ong Tee Kiat was in town yesterday. He chopped in yesterday morning and chopped out later in the evening. He was here for a convocation, an MCA event and posh residential launching(or something like that). Initially none of the students stood up to applaud him when he was making his entrance into the hall. Fortunately some quick thinking college staffs manage to get some students to stand up later though. As usual, he was so busy that he didn't have time for us the kaki tambak community. So far he has not come out with any commitment whatsoever in addressing the deadlock caused by the new Bkt ChagarCIQ. He has also not make any clear stand on pushed for the Crooked Bridge.These are issues he must address, as the Minister of Transport and MCA Johor State Chief(albeit a syok sendiri self-appointed one). Personally I am very disgusted with his inaction. Countless of complaints to the government and through the media, still no strong action from him. It seems that he doesn't even care. He should show us some guts plus stop hiding behind Najib and Hishamuddin . At least the much maligned Sharir Samad and the much bombarded Syed Hamid Albar, dare to admit that Bkt Chagar CIQ arrangement is not working out. They understood the situation on the ground. They wanted the old checkpoint to be reopen and allow pedestrian to walk across the causeway normally again. Now its too late, demolition of the old checkpoint has begun: The two ex-minister are not even anak Johor but yet showed some concern for the kaki tambaks. Whereas our Ong Tee Kiat,he is only hiding here because Johor is the safest place for MCA.Everyone knows Ong Tee Kiat self appointment to MCA Johor Chief is for the free lunch. But that is not a reason to treat the provider of your free lunch with apathy. The kaki tambaks will not stay unconditionally subservient forever.The times are changing, there is already one rocket in JB.There maybe more Johor rockets and full moon in time to come. So I seriously urge Ong Tee Kiat : 1)To please stop giving us your endless incoherent rhetorical answers 2)To show us some guts and action 3)And for goodness sake,stop using someone else sex tape as your grip to MCA Presidency 4)Or else go back to Selangor - and pick a real fight with MB Khalid, Teresa Kok or Ronnie Liu. Maybe then you can show Malaysia what you are made of??

    Friday, May 8, 2009

    A very big TQ to Pratamad

    I wish to convey my heartfelt thanks to Guan Sin aka Pratamad. Not only was he the first reader of The Tambak Johor Blog, But also introducing this personal project of mine on his blog Thats all for now. Before I go any further, I must admit that I am one of those dinosours who don't have yet to own a digital camera in this day and age. So I need to buy myself a digital camera later today to get this project serioUsly underway.

    Thursday, May 7, 2009

    A Tun Mahathir Concoction .The 3 Stooges Explained

    Lets try to get to know what is so terribly wrong with Tun Mahathir 3 Stooges(aka Bkt Chagar CIQ, JB Sentral and The Crooked bridge):
    (1) It is just so damn far. -Walking from JB center of Jln Wong Ah Fook will take 15mins to reach the main entrance of CIQ. -From there you need to walk 10mins in one big round within the new CIQ before reaching the buses pickup points. -Waiting bus will take 15 minutes(if you are lucky), -And another 30 minutes for the bus to reach Singapore during peak hour, -So now a kaki tambak has to spend 70mins(15+10+15+30) to travel from Jln Wong Ah Fook to reach Woddlands Checkpoint. -Compare to old times, a walk from Jln Wong Ah Fook to Singapore chechkpoint took a max of 25mins(some kaki tambak can do it in 15mins) -That is 35mins for morning and 35minutes for evening Which means a total 70 mins wasted per day per kaki tambak. A conservative estimate of manhour loss = ((70/60)per hour per day per kaki tambak) X 200000kaki tambak X SGD8.00 per hour = SGD1866666.67 or RM4424000.00 per day OR a yearly loss = RM4424000.00/day X 5day per week X 52 week per year = RM1150240000 or RM1.15billion per year (2) SO can anyone walk from Bkt Chagar CIQ to Woodlands checkpoint? Yes, provided you can last the 50 minutes trekking up and down in dangerous traffic. (PS:No allocation for a pedestrian path was allocated to this multi-billion Ringgit CIQ). Every weekends or any other time when busses are insufficient, kaki tambak will just walk through pain and exhaustion either for work or to go home. From my personal observation, it seems that more and more kaki tambak are walking with limp at BKT Chagar(myself included) (3) A dead end for most bicyclist. From my earlier post, I have blog about my new found joy of cycling to work. To cycle from Bkt Chagar to woodlands is like going through Tour De France. Sadly many bicyclist have given up because its just to arduos. Many like myself have also succumbed to leg injury. 4) If the crooked bridge were to proceed, it will only subject the kaki tambak community to more physical torture. 5) The ghostly JB Sentral. The supposedly new JB bus,train and taxi complex was built to serve the Bkt Chagar CIQ. The problem with this busses or train does not go or stops there at the moment. The car park is not in operation and way too small for a city like JB. Why the rush to open the new CIQ without JB Sentral being in operation? This akin to expecting an engine to run without fuel delivery system. Malaysia Boleh. Furthermore, if JB Sentral were to be put in operation it will spell death to business at other parts of JB town. No matter how you look at it these 3 stooges is going to be dead end. Then why is our Tun Mahathir so viciously pushing these projects. For the answer we have to back back 15-20 years or so. At that time (before 2nd Link was built) , a lot of anonymous people sprout up from no where to buy lands in backwaters of Gelang Patah. Those days it was just plantation and forests. Now it is home to some very lacklustre port&free trade zone,government township and residential area. The final plot is: Imagine if the old causeway were to be demolished, millions of people will thronged the 2nd link out of desparation. The land prices there will skyrockect, and certain anonymous people will earn multi billions in an instant.

    The Crooked Strikes Back

    Its been very difficult finding time to tell people about this blog let alone consistently updating it. Well, I am going to start all over again. You may ask why now. It is because Tun Mahathir, the Mega Billion Hallucinator is back. I was fuming mad with some of his distorted cum irresponsible statements lately. I have wanted to write about the new JB CIQ at Bukit Chagar for quite a while now, but never able to find time. I guess Tun Mahathir really pushed this kaki tambak over the edge now. Tun Mahathir was quoted as saying, the reason for massive traffic jams at Bkt Chagar was due to the misfit between the new CIQ and old causeway. Plainly speaking, he just want the crooked bridge to be built. He is back to his demented egoistic self again and he doesn't give a crap to : (1)whether the new CIQ or proposed bridge will solve the traffic jams and alleaviate the sufferings of the kaki tambak community? (2)or have the new CIQ spur business activities in a whole(other than City Square which is owned by Singapore Capital Land)? (3)Will the crooked bridge be the final touch of JB mystical economic Utopia that he envisioned? For question (1), I believe any kaki tambak is more qualified to explained the causeways deadlock than Tun Mahathir. Have Tun or his UMNO Johor bigots, ever struggle daily like us kaki tambak at warzone 1 (old causeway) or warzone 2(2nd link). Who are they to tell us, what JB really needs. That is it for now. Please visit this blog again. I will follow up with a later post on terrible wrongs that Mahathir concocted for JB.