Kajang-Putrajaya rail link may be revived

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PETALING JAYA: Plans are afoot to revive the abandoned RM400mil Putrajaya rail link with an additional extension up to the Kajang mass rapid transit (MRT) station.

It is believed that Putrajaya Holdings Sdn Bhd, which is the master developer of Putrajaya administrative capital, is looking into the rail project which has been abandoned since 2004 because of the heavy traffic to the area now.

“It started as a monorail project within Putrajaya. Now apart from monorail, the option is to make it a light rail transit (LRT) project with connectivity up to the MRT station in Kajang,” said a source.

The rail link, which may potentially be Malaysia’s fourth light rail transit (LRT) line, could likely be developed at a cost of about RM2bil which includes systems work, sources said.

The lower cost is mainly because the necessary civil infrastructure works have been completed under the previous Putrajaya monorail project, before it was abruptly shelved in 2004 due to budget constraint.

“While it may take about six months to a year before the project development begins, I can confirm that the government wants to proceed with the project,” said the source.

He said the development of the new rail link would be handled by Putrajaya Corp and the Federal Territories Ministry.

If the rail link is revived, the source said it would complete “a circle connecting Sungai Buloh, Kajang and Putrajaya”.

He was referring to the MRT 1 line between Sungai Buloh and Kajang and the MRT 2 line between Sungai Buloh and Putrajaya.

With the new rail link, commuters especially civil servants working in Putrajaya would be able to travel between Kajang and the administrative city hassle-free.

“It makes sense to develop the rail link, considering that the civil works and tunneling have been done but are left unused until now,” said the source.

He added that the possible revival of the rail link was timely to improve connectivity to locations within Putrajaya and out of the administrative capital.

In October last year, Putrajaya Corp president Datuk Dr Aminuddin Hassim said the stalled Putrajaya monorail project may be revived soon. “We are looking at the cost factor and whether it is reasonable to do it, taking into consideration the anticipated ridership,” he said.

Aminuddin also hinted that the rail line might be extended to Bangi, Kajang and even Kuala Lumpur.

Critics have long labelled the Putrajaya monorail as a “white elephant”, as the structures such as unfinished tunnels and an unconnected bridge have been abandoned for years.

The Putrajaya monorail idea was mooted during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s first stint as Prime Minister.

Initially, the rail link started off as an LRT system before being converted into a two-line monorail, considering Putrajaya’s population density back then.

After Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over the premiership in 2004 following Dr Mahathir’s resignation, he shelved the Putrajaya monorail project, citing a lack of funds.

However, various quarters have since urged the government to re-consider the decision and revive the project.

These include former Putrajaya Corp president Tan Sri Samsudin Osman, who has repeatedly urged the government to restart the project due to mounting parking-related complaints.

The Star had also reported several years ago that Dr Mahathir was disappointed by the indefinite postponement of the Putrajaya monorail project.

In 2016, it was reported that MMC Corp Bhd had proposed to the Economic Council to revive the Putrajaya monorail project, following the government’s investment in the Klang Valley MRT project.

The news report also said that MMC Corp expected the project to be completed by 2021, in time to complement the completion of the MRT 2. However, no further development has been reported on the matter ever since.

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