Saturday April 23, 2005
Hartasuma to build coaches for Asean and OIC marketsBY HONG BOON HOW IN PORT KLANG
HARTASUMA Sdn Bhd aims to sell its locally manufactured train coaches to railway operators in the Asean region and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
Chairman Tan Sri Mohamed Khatib Abdul Hamid said the company was currently in discussions with the State Railway of Thailand to supply its coaches.
“We are looking at win-win business proposition with the Thai authority.
“We are flexible and can either export our coaches completely built-up or assist Thailand in setting up a facility to assemble our coaches,” he told StarBiz at the handing over of the company's five new economy-class coaches to KTM Bhd (KTM) in Port Klang yesterday.
Khatib also said Malaysia's good standing in OIC would provide opportunities for the company to expand its coach building business to OIC countries.
Present at the ceremony were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy, Deputy Transport Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Azlan Sultan Abu Bakar and KTM chairman Tan Sri Thong Yaw Hong.
Tan Sri Khatib Abdul Hamid briefing Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy on the first locally assembled coach in Klang yesterday.
Hartasuma has a contract worth RM21mil to manufacture 11 economy-class coaches for KTM.
Khatib said the country would be able to save on foreign exchange by developing its own rail and coach building industry.
KTM coaches that are imported from Japan and South Korea are more expensive compared with those manufactured by Hartasuma. The body shells for Hartasuma's coaches are imported from India.
“Our aim is to become a leading rail coach and wagon manufacturer in the region,” Khatib said.
The company's rail business is undertaken by its subsidiary, Ara Rails Technology Sdn Bhd.
Ara Rails chairman Datuk Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi said the company had already developed a vendor programme consisting of 30 suppliers for its railway and coach building business.
“We hope the Government will be able to assist the railway and coach building industry in Malaysia by giving incentives such as tax exemption, funding or pioneer status for companies in the business,” he said.