PETALING JAYA: In his ongoing criticism of the MRT project, Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli (pic) has ignored how it will improve public transportation in the coming years and, more importantly, the cost of not doing the project, said Barisan Nasional.
Its strategic communications team said the implications of not doing the project were greater, citing figures from the 2015 World Bank Malaysia Economic report.
Barisan also cited a recent Frost & Sullivan survey that found 41% of Malaysians ranked traffic jams as their top frustration, while car transport costs made up 10% of all monthly household expenses.
"Despite the high investment cost of public transportation, the Government will be able to indirectly recoup investments over the long term from taxes on improved productivity, increased property values and increased economic activity in the areas served by public transport.
"In addition, the Government will also reap bigger savings from the reduced environmental and health-care costs," Barisan said in a statement Tuesday.
It said the long-term costs did not include damage to the environment from petrol-burning cars and health costs arising from increased stress levels while stuck in traffic jams.
Barisan said the investments in improved public transportation will also put money back in the pockets of Malaysians, from time savings and reduced transport and car ownership costs.
“We are appalled that YB Rafizi Ramli has such a myopic and unstrategic thinking and continues to make this an issue while completely ignoring that the benefits to both the Government and the people far outweigh the cost, especially since it has been proven that Malaysia's MRT project costs are not over-priced,” said Barisan.
The team also thanked online portal Malaysiakini for its fact checks on Rafizi's allegations on the cost of the MRT project.
Since the launch of phase one of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT line last month, Rafizi has hit out at the project, saying that it will add to the national debt.
He had claimed that the project cost RM1bil per kilometre, although MRT has said that it was RM21bil for the 51km-long line.
Phase One of the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line covers 12 stations and spans 21km from Sungai Buloh to Semantan.
Phase Two of the Line, which is expected to be completed by July next year, includes a 9.5km underground section from Semantan to Maluri and a 20.5km elevated section from Maluri to Kajang.