Loke: High upkeep behind losses


KUALA LUMPUR: The losses suffered by Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Corp Sdn Bhd were because of the high capital expenditure costs to construct both MRT1 (Kajang line) and MRT2 (Putrajaya line) as well as the need to maintain low ticket rates, says Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

He said the main goal of MRT Corp is to support long-term socio-economic growth for the country and the people.

Loke said such public projects require massive capital expenditure.

The said projects, he stressed, were not supposed to be built to recoup their costs quickly over a short period of time.

“The success of these public projects was never meant to be purely determined by financial performance but also the overall positive impact they might have on the economy and the people,” he said during a press conference at Parliament yesterday.

Loke also said the subsidised My50 unlimited travel pass, aimed at increasing ridership among Malaysians in the Klang Valley since its launch in 2021, had also contributed to the losses, which came to RM200mil per year to maintain.

Loke’s comments comes after the release of the Auditor-General’s 2024 Report last week, which revealed that MRT Corp had suffered accumulated losses of RM57.624bil since it was established in 2011.

The report said the company has yet to finalise its accounts for the MRT1 project it completed and launched seven years ago in 2017.

It also noted that both MRT1 and MRT2 have continued to fail to meet ridership targets since their launch.

Loke said this is due to Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns in 2021.

He said ridership had since been on a consistent annual rise since the 2021 low point.

“Ridership on MRT1 has risen significantly, with the daily average ridership reaching 139,000 in 2022, 204,000 in 2023 and 239,000 as of May this year.

“MRT2 ridership has also seen significant increase since its launch in 2022 from a daily average of 23,000 to 93,000 in 2023 and 140,000 as of May this year,” he said.

To encourage more passengers, Loke said the government has approved the purchase of 310 new buses to help resolve last-mile transportation issues.

The buses are expected to be delivered by December this year.

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Mass Rapid Transit , Anthony Loke

   

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