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Thursday, October 8, 2009

RM28b rail plan

PRIVATELY-HELD Global Rail Sdn Bhd and its partner from China have jointly submitted a RM28 billion proposal to develop a high-speed railway and inter-modal freight system in Malaysia, linking economic corridors to major airports and seaports.

Global Rail managing director Fan Boon Heng said the proposal was submitted on September 28 to the Ministry of Finance, the Economic Planning Unit and the Johor Menteri Besar.

The project is a private finance initiative (PFI) with China Infraglobe Consortium, a global infrastructure development and logistics specialist.

Fan said China Infraglobe has the financing in place to fully fund the project, which will be implemented in four phases over 10 years.

He said the financial mechanism will be crafted such that the local government will have a total cost capped for the whole project and risks will be allocated to the parties best able to manage them.
"It will free up the current government funds for public spending in other areas," he told Business Times in an interview.

Fan said the implementation of the project to lay electrified double tracks will start from Iskandar Malaysia in Johor.

Under the first phase, the parties involved will lay the tracks from Johor Baru to Gemas, while under Phase 2, the tracks will run from Gemas to Tumpat in Kelantan.

Phase 3 will start from Kluang, with connections to the KL International Airport, Port Klang and the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) in Selangor.

The fourth phase will be from PKFZ to Perlis and up to the Thai border.

"We will call for tenders for local participation on the civil works, building of stations and yard facilities after we get the green light from the government. China Infraglobe will work with a European group on the systems portion," Fan said.

The proposal is in line with the government's 2020 National Physical Plan on Transportation.

"This development plan will transform Malaysia into a regional logistics hub for Asean and be the southern gateway to the overland logistics rapid freight system for China and Europe," Fan added.

It is also expected to propel Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd into a major logistics and industrial corporation, enhancing and augmenting its role as a national rail and logistics services provider in passenger and freight services.

Global Rail, set up in July last year, was founded by Fan, who previously headed ABB Daimler-Benz Transportation and, later, Balfour Beatty Rail Sdn Bhd for over 15 years.

It already has jobs from Road Builder Sdn Bhd for electrification for a railway project in Batu Gajah, Perak, and from YTL Corp Bhd to supply automatic train protection system and railway point machines for its Sentul-Batu Caves railway project.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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