Foreigners will no longer be able to ride Smart Selangor buses for free beginning 2020
theSundaily reported that the announcement was made during the Selangor state assembly sitting on Monday, 4 November.
State Local Government, Public Transportation, and New Village Development executive councillor Ng Sze Han said a fee of RM1 will be imposed on non-Malaysians who utilise the service.
The fee is set to be implemented sometime in 2020, but the Selangor government has not decided on the right mechanism for identifying non-Malaysian riders
"We may use MyKad. But we are thinking of other alternatives as many students do not carry their MyKad with them," Ng elaborated during the sitting, reported The Star.
"On the mode of payment, we are looking at cashless transactions."
Prior to the state assembly meeting, SelangorKini reported on Friday, 1 November, that the Selangor Menteri Besar said 'Tap To Ride' systems will be installed on the buses for citizens to tap their MyKads at.
Additionally, Ng refuted claims that foreigners were the bigger users of the service.
Citing studies by the Hulu Selangor and Shah Alam local authorities, he said foreigners make up only 2% and 9% of commuters, respectively.
However, the announcement has drawn flak from netizens for being discriminatory and racist
A viral tweet showing a photo of the printed news report received multiple replies and quote tweets condemning the move.
"Imagine being so racist, you want to inconvenience everyone on the bus by implementing a whole ID and payment system just so you can be sure you're discriminating against migrants," said one netizen.
Another netizen questioned if the fee will apply to foreigners who are "wealthy European tourists" as well.
"If so, and they cause a ruckus about it, will the policy stick? If not, just admit lah you didn't want migrant workers on the same bus," they continued.
Several netizens also pointed out the various ways foreign workers have helped build Malaysia
"We eat the roti canai that migrant workers made at mamak restaurants everyday. We live and work in buildings that they built. We got them to clean our streets, and many of us were even raised by non-Malaysian maids," shared a netizen.
"But if they want to ride the free bus, then we start to be calculative."
Another said, "Ask any Malaysian and they'll admit foreign workers are subject to some of the most dehumanising conditions. It's equivalent to torture. Ask a Malaysian how much they think a foreign worker earns. And we won't even let them ride a f*****g bus for free?"
"I don't see why foreign workers who build our houses, clean up our streets, serve us food, and pick up and clean after us in malls, offices, and homes should have to pay to take the free bus. They don't get paid more than locals," one netizen mused.