MRT to raise private funds to finance 10-30% MRT3 project

KUALA LUMPUR: Mass Rapid Transport Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) expects to raise private funds to finance 10 per cent to 30 per cent of the total MRT Circle Line (MRT3) project.

Chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Zarif Hashim said the exercise will be carried out in the hope to ease the government’s burden and expenditure on the project.

"Right now, we are looking at a hybrid model and using our own initiative to invite private companies,” he said in a briefing session on "Insights: MRT3 Circle Line”, adding that the tenders are scheduled to be opened in August this year.

As for now, he said MRT Corp has issued requests for information (RFI) to industry players which focuses on the transformation of the construction methods, development of local technologies and recovery of economy wreaked by the pandemic.

"With that, we hope to see the local industry come up with change that would be able to attract more Malaysian workers in the project besides developing highly skilled locals,” he said.

He said the Circle Line would be different from the MRT1 and MRT2 projects in a way that the MRT3 is intended to be a catalyst for the revival of the country’s economy and technology.

Speaking to reporters, he hoped the 10-year construction project could start early next year, subject to the government’s approval.

He said the route for the entire Circle Line would cover 50 kilometres which will have over 30 stations and 10 interchange stations in the capital city, with 40 per cent comprising underground routes.

"We will do it in five phases and each phase when completed can operate independently to connect to interchange stations without having to wait for the entire project to be completed in 10 years,” he said.

Mohd Zarif said the MRT3 is expected to give 3.5 times higher return from the overall cost of expenditure for the rail project.

He did not reveal the total cost of the project and did not confirm or deny the cost speculated in recent media reports.

According to a news report, Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd had estimated the project to cost between RM20 billion and RM22 billion with one-third of the alignment to be underground.

Mohd Zarif said the project would boost economic development in terms of distribution supply chain, local suppliers, local technology, development of enterprises as well as participation from Sabah and Sarawak.

On April 3, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the construction of the MRT3 project, which was suspended by the previous government, will begin in the second half of this year.

As such, MRT Corp has been given three months to update the studies that have been conducted previously on the implementation of the project, to be presented to the Cabinet. - Bernama

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