No plans so far to do feasibility study on Sarawak-Sabah-Kalimantan rail network, says Wee

KUALA LUMPUR: The Transport Ministry has no plans as yet to conduct a feasibility study to build a railway network linking Sarawak and Sabah to Indonesia’s new capital in Kalimantan, said Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

The Transport Minister said that any proposals for land and air connectivity from Sarawak and Sabah to the new Indonesian capital should be supported by projected passenger statistics so that detailed planning could be done.

“In Sarawak, currently the focus is on the provision of an urban rail network under the Kuching Urban Transport System (KUTS) project led by Sarawak Metro.

“For Sabah, the focus is on improving the railway infrastructure and the quality of train services, led by the Sabah State Railway Department (JKNS),” he said when winding up debate on the motion of thanks for the Royal address in the Dewan Negara on Monday (March 28).

On any development project or upgrading of any airport, Dr Wee said it should be implemented based on the concept of evidence-based planning in the development of the transport sector to meet market needs.

“Therefore, it is important for the ministry to ensure that the projected increase in passenger demand is accurate to enable the planned project to be viable and resilient,” he said.

He said currently, the ministry was doing a study on the National Airports Strategic Plan (NASP) which encompasses development airports and STOLports (short take-off and landing airports) in Malaysia, which is scheduled to be completed in the middle of next year in line with the National Transport Policy 2019-2030.

“This study aims to determine the direction of airports in Malaysia in terms of physical infrastructure development, airspace requirements, economic and strategic studies so that the development of an airport is implemented based on actual needs.

“For now, the Sarawak and Sabah airport facilities can accommodate any increase in passengers and flight frequency in the near future,” he said.

He, however, said the ministry would encourage and would facilitate any local or foreign airlines that wished to provide flight services for routes to Nusantara (the soon to be built new capital of Indonesia) in the future. – Bernama

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