THE MMC-Gamuda consortium, which plans to inject up to RM1bil in working capital into KTM Bhd, knows it would be tough to turn around the national railway company but believes it can be done with an integrated rail-sea-air network.
“We want to take the bull by the horns,'' said GAMUDA BHD managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling.
The proposed privatisation would entail the government taking back RM800mil of debt and the consortium leasing the railway assets from the government for a nominal sum.
In addition, the government would foot the bill for the first batch of rolling stock needed for KTM to operate a new electrified double track running along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. “But overall, we will eventually spend more (on rolling stock),'' said Lin.
Taking over KTM means that Malaysia Mining Corp Bhd (MMC) and Gamuda would have a major business division in the future. And to turn around the company, the consortium knows that it needs to change and improve the operations of KTM.
The vision of an integrated logistics network, when realised, would mean that goods shipped out of or into Malaysia could be transported to their destination with just a single bill of lading.
Lin said the same concept could be applied to air passengers, just as in Europe, where travellers could check in their luggage at a train station and pick up their bags on arrival at their destination. “In one or two years after the tracks are commissioned, we can turn KTM around.”
He acknowledged that MMC-Ga- muda would have to upgrade the east coast line as part of its efforts to revitalise the nation's railway network.
But it was the need to turn around KTM quickly that prompted the consortium to set a timeframe of four years to finish the double tracking project instead of the government's original target of five years. “The original target would have meant an additional year of losses for us,'' said Lin.
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