HSR should be made via concession method, says Loke

  • Nation
  • Friday, 05 Apr 2024

PETALING JAYA: The concession method used for private companies to build highways could be emulated for the high-speed rail (HSR), says Anthony Loke.

The Transport Minister said the HSR remained an integral project that could be an economic changer to the country.

“I don’t see why we must say no, but it should not be a government-led project. Instead, the private sector can contribute capital and carry on the project.

“We can discuss land acquisition further. If it does not involve a cost that can burden the government, we can consider it.

“But as a Transport Minister, I don’t see why it (HSR) cannot be done through concession. If we can build highways, then the HSR can also use the same concept,” he said during the Keluar Sekejap podcast with Khairy Jamaluddin and Shahril Hamdan on Friday. (April 5)

In terms of its train route, he said a new one is needed, especially passing uncharted territories.

“First, we will examine the proposals and evaluate the proponents. We have yet to decide where the tracks will pass through.

“But it also has to include strategic areas such as Forest City, which has thousands of houses, financial zones, and Johor-Singapore zones. So essentially, these must be captured,” he said.

During the podcast, Loke addressed several other issues pertaining to transportation, including the need for Johor to have a transit system.

He said the ministry wants a system that could be implemented in the next three years, one that incorporates the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and others.

He added that several options must be considered, and the government must make a decision in the next few months.

“There is much good news for Johor, which is an economic frontline and proximity to Singapore,” Loke said.

Under the earlier plan, the Kuala Lumpur–Singapore HSR, as conceived by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, would span 350km.

It is expected to reduce travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to 90 minutes and was meant to catalyse the 486-acre Bandar Malaysia township project by 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

In March, three consortia’s concept proposals for the HSR are believed to have been shortlisted for the multibillion-ringgit mega infrastructure project.

According to sources privy to the matter, the three consortia are YTL Construction Sdn Bhd-SIPP Rail Sdn Bhd, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd-IJM Construction Sdn Bhd-Berjaya Rail Sdn Bhd-Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (MRCB-IJM-BRail-KTMB) and a Chinese consortium said to be led by state-owned China Railway Construction.

In July last year, MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd issued a request for information (RFI), calling for concept proposals for the HSR.

On Jan 15, MyHSR chairman Datuk Seri Fauzi Abdul Rahman said that seven local and international consortia, comprising 31 firms, submitted concept proposals for the project.

MyHSR would be responsible for the development and implementation of the project.

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