KUALA LUMPUR: A special task force has been set up within the Cabinet Committee on Public Transport to study a proposal for a new three-line mass rapid transit (MRT) system costing more than RM30 billion.
Sources told the New Straits Times that Gamuda Bhd and MMC Corp Bhd had submitted a joint proposal to the government for a new MRT system to improve public transport in the Klang Valley.
While it aims to integrate the monorail and light rail transit (LRT) systems, the MRT lines will also connect the northwest and southeast of the Klang Valley.
The committee is chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
It is understood that one of the lines will run through Sungai Buloh, Kota Damansara, Kuala Lumpur and Cheras until Kajang. Another line will connect Sungai Buloh, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur and Serdang. The third line will loop around
Kuala Lumpur’s central business district, providing a link between the monorail and LRT services. It is believed that Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd may have to redesign an upcoming development to facilitate this MRT line.
“The MRT lines will be mostly underground with stops every 500m to 1km in high-traffic areas like the Golden Triangle in Kuala Lumpur. The concept is similar to the MRT systems in Hong Kong and Singapore,” said a source.
Although the original proposal was submitted by Gamuda and MMC Corp, the project will be open to bidding.
“Instead of direct negotiations, what is being suggested is a variant of competitive bidding. This means the project is open to competitive bidding by third parties but Gamuda and MMC Corp have the option to outbid the best bid,” sources said. Because of the project size, it may take as long as 10 years to be completed.
When contacted yesterday, Gamuda, which was involved in the construction of the Kaohsiung Metropolitan MRT in Taiwan, declined to comment. The local MRT project will not be the first collaboration between MMC Corp and Gamuda.
Both are working on the electrified double-tracking project between Ipoh and Padang Besar. They also built the underground SMART tunnel here.
Research houses do not expect the MRT project to kick off soon even if it gets the go-ahead as the LRT extension project has not been awarded yet.
“In addition, there has been no news on the new LRT line as the focus is on getting the extension line project under way quickly,” said Kenanga Research in a report issued yesterday.
This refers to the proposed new LRT line from Kota Damansara to Cheras.
THE mass rapid transit (MRT) system has been proven to work in countries like Singapore and Hong Kong and its main appeal lies in its ability to carry a lot of people quickly.
Currently, Malaysia’s light rail transit (LRT) system could carry up to 30,000 people per hour per direction on the Ampang line while an MRT could handle double the number, said a senior public transport industry official.
“We need more rail lines in the city because people can be transported faster and the MRT can carry more than 50 per cent of what our LRT can carry now easily.”
A major complaint for Kuala Lumpur’s public transport system is that it is not connected well enough.
The proposed MRT aims to integrate the existing monorail and LRT systems and also provide connectivity between the northwest and southeast of Klang Valley.
MRT trains in Singapore are connected together in a series of more than 10 cars against a Malaysian LRT train of four to six cars.
An MRT train can also run twice as fast as an LRT train with an average speed of 80-90km per hour.
Also, Hong Kong has an interesting way to fund its MRT system. The operator controls the land around the station and this is turned into malls or a retail area. This means that the money from running the malls could be used to fund the MRT system.