KUALA LUMPUR: The technical study on the mass rapid transit (MRT) system proposal should be completed by middle of this month after which a report will be presented to the Government said Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.
Syed Hamid said SPAD hired a consultant to undertake the study and would present the outcome to the Government. “Once it is approved by the Cabinet, we can look at the value management study. The Government sees the need and urgency of this as it’s part of the public transformation system.”
He said the Greater KL conurbation had been identified as a new key economic area under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) where several initiatives were already underway to enhance the city public transportation network.
“Among the key initiatives on the Government’s radar are investments on public rail transport that include the implementation of high-capacity MRT system and the expansion of light rail transit (LRT).
“Works on the extended LRT lines are expected to start in November,” he told reporters after delivering the keynote address at the ABB forum entitled Powering the Rails in Malaysia – delivering efficient and reliable solutions for sustainable mobility.
To recap, the proposed MRT system, consisting three lines running a total of 150km within a 20km radius of central Kuala Lumpur, was initiated by a joint venture between MMC Corp Bhd and Gamuda Bhd earlier this year with estimated cost RM36bil.
On the departure of SPAD chief operating officer Shahril Mokhtar (who has been appointed group managing director of Syarikat Prasarana), Syed Hamid said any vacancy would be filled up and it was SPAD’s priority to hire qualified people to man its operations.
Meanwhile, Gamuda executive director Datuk Paul Ha said there was a lot of potential for bonds to be issued to finance the proposed MRT system. “The Malaysian bond market is reasonably matured where the public debt security approved by Securities Commission is around RM57bil last year,” he said.
Meanwhile, in his presentation Is there a gap in the current rail infrastructure in Malaysia? Ha said there was a need for efficiency and sustainability for the development, management and operations of the country’s rail assets through proper regulations in order to see the best results from the transport system.
“Among the key principle for rail operators is the separation of the asset ownership from the operators to reinforce accountability and establish appropriate arms-length relationships
“We must also separate the capital expenditure burden of the asset from the operational costs that can be effectively recovered from the users. There needs to have a corporate structure that strengthens accountability for performance to stakeholders and shareholders,” he said.
ABB South Asia region manager Sim Boon Kiat said the group had been steadily growing its rail portfolio and the revival of interest in Malaysia rail sector. “The demand for new railways, the electrification of the existing ones and increase in rail traffic is increasing.”