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Wednesday January 11, 2006

Rail link to Malacca again

PETALING JAYA: After a 60-year absence, trains may again be chugging into Malacca. 

KTM Bhd is conducting a feasibility study on restarting the former Tampin-Malacca link. Another study is on the Mentakab-Kuantan link.  

The Tampin-Malacca link ended in World War Two when the Japanese dug up the tracks and used them to build the Death Railway between Thailand and Myanmar.  

KTMB managing director Datuk Mohd Salleh Abdullah said both links could be constructed under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2010-15).  

Mohd Salleh said a rail link would benefit Malacca, providing the historical city with an alternative mode of transport.  

He said: “Since Malacca does not have a major port, the railway will serve passengers rather than freight.”  

He added that the link would enable a huge population to be served because it would be traversing developed and densely populated areas. 

Mohd Salleh said the link would not be extended to the Petronas refinery in Sungai Udang because KTMB's reserve land did not come close to the location.  

“However, the Government and KTMB have no objection if Petronas finances the construction of a railway link like it did for the Kerteh-Kuantan line,” he said. 

On the Mentakab-Kuantan link, Mohd Salleh said the line would enable the Kerteh-Kuantan line to be connected to KTMB's east coast line. 

“The link will increase accessibility to the east coast states and enhance development,” he said, adding that it would enable petrochemical products from the plants in Kuantan and Kerteh to be transported to other parts of the country.