Malaysia eyeing plans to enhance Asean rail link

GEORGE TOWN: There are plans to enhance the Asean rail link, aiming to create a seamless connection across all member countries when Malaysia assumes Asean chairmanship next year, says Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

He said the link, the Pan-Asian railway network from Malaysia to Thailand travelling up to Kunming, China, will be the gateway to Central Asia and Europe.

“It is something that we have been talking about for 30 years.

“The improved integration is not only for physical connectivity but also for goods to come through Customs clearance seamlessly between countries,” he said at a press conference after yesterday’s opening of the 57th Asean Senior Transport Officials Meeting (STOM).

Loke pointed out that member states should iron out the issue of cross-border clearance to enable better movement of people and goods in the future.

“While there has not been much progress on the Kunming-Singapore railway network, the existing lines could be enhanced by connecting the missing links,” he added.

He said that a preliminary study was being conducted to gauge the feasibility of the Trans-Borneo Railway project.

“It will be a nine-month study, and when it is completed, we will know if the project will be carried out,” he said.

Earlier, when addressing the STOM meeting, Loke highlighted the efforts undertaken by the Asean transport bodies to implement various initiatives outlined in the Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Action Plan (KLTSP) 2016-2025.

He said the deliberations under the 57th STOM will continue to support KLTSP. This is also consistent with the Master Plan on Asean Connectivity (MPAC) 2025, which aims to create a regional network of efficient and seamless transportation ecosystems to improve the way Asean people live, work and travel.

Delegations led by secretaries-general, permanent secretaries from Asean member states, and Asean dialogue partners China, Japan, South Korea and the United States attended the meeting.

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