KUALA LUMPUR: More emphasis will be placed on improving railway networks and services in the country, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Prime Minister said that railway services in the country were under-utilised, adding that he hoped that more people would use them in the future.
Dr Mahathir also said that railways could be used to transport freight, especially big items, and they were safer compared with the lorries used to transport goods all over the country.
“In the future, we hope to have a developed rail system such as in Japan, South Korea and China.
“Our intention is to reduce the use of private vehicles on the road and increase the use of rail, especially for long distance travel.
“During festive seasons, we have to improve the frequency, ” he told reporters on Thursday (Oct 17) after launching the National Transport Policy (NTP) here.
Also present at the launch was Transport Minister Anthony Loke.
Dr Mahathir added Malaysia has invested a lot in rail, but it is not used.
“It is the same as buying a plane but keeping it on the ground. Rail is a big investment and has to be used as frequently as possible, ” he said.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia would seek the advice of Japanese experts on making greater use of rail.
He said that if there was a need to add railway lines, it would be done.
The NTP, the blueprint for the transport sector from 2019 to 2030, aims to develop a sustainable transport sector that accelerates economic growth and supports the well-being of the rakyat, in line with Malaysia’s advanced nation aspirations.
Covering air, land and sea transport, the NTP encompasses five policy thrusts and 23 strategies.