KUALA LUMPUR: Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani said the government may invest in more trains on the light rail transit (LRT) lines to reduce congestion during peak hours.
“I have been informed that the LRT ridership are at almost 500,000 people per day, and this excludes the connectivity through the feeder buses. This is for the Sri Petaling & Ampang LRT line and the Kelana Jaya LRT line,” Johari said after officiating at the 20th anniversary of the LRT Ampang line.
“These (ridership) figures keep increasing so I have told Prasarana Malaysia Bhd that we may have to add more coaches so that we will be able to reduce congestion during the peak hours.
“We will invest a lot more money for the (LRT train) coaches and so there will be more train coaches during peak hours. And this will ease the congestion on the trains,” he added.
He did not give specifics when asked on the amount of additional investments that would be required but said that investments for public transportation usually spans over a few decades.
“It is the same for any country around the world and investments are long and have to be made up till 40-50 years. But what is more important is that while the investments are for a long period, the investment is already giving us returns in terms of aiding economic growth,” he said.
“For example, the LRT lines have helped the services sector of the economy that contributes to 54% of our GDP. Public transportation helps to facilitate people movement from one place to another and it has a very high multiplier effect on the economy as many areas of development that are happening today is happening in areas that were out of our imagination once before,” he added.
Johari cited Bukit Jalil and the Ampang areas where there were few people who preferred to stay in these areas but it was different now that the connectivity was present with the LRT and public transportation.
“Increased connectivity through public transportation would also mean that people especially those whom have just started working and cannot not afford a car can now commute to and from work,” he said.
Prasarana recently deployed a new fleet of 50 trains of six coaches on the LRT Ampang Line which is sourced from China’s CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co.
Meanwhile, Johari said there would not be any significant impact from Petronas’ oil production cuts on the economy.
“This is in line with the cuts by Opec which we hope can help control oil prices. If Petronas produces around 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) and we cut 20,000 bpd, this is only less than 5% of our total production,” he said.
“The volume will compensate the price difference. So we may not see any impact,” he added.
Petronas had announced that it would reduce its output on a voluntary basis beginning next year in line with an initiative taken by members and non-members of the Opec to help improve prices.
The production cut is part of a collective effort by major oil producers globally to ease the current supply glut of crude oil.
In a statement earlier in the week, Petronas said that in light of the pact made in Vienna, Austria on Dec 10 between Opec and non-Opec producers, it would make a voluntary adjustment involving up to 20,000 bpd of crude from the country’s 2016 average production.