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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Proposal with minimal Govt funding favoured for high-speed KL-S'pore rail bids

Briefing by SPAD officials for media editors: From left SPAD chief development officer Azmi Abdul Aziz, SPAD chief executive officer Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal and SPAD chief operating officer Azhar Ahmad - Starpic by AZLINA BT ABDULLAH .

PETALING JAYA: The private sector will be invited to come out with a proposal that requires minimal Government funding for the development of the high-speed rail (HSR) project linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore if the project gets the green light.

Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chief executive officer Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal said if the project received the go-ahead from the Government, the authorities would favour a proposal from private parties that would involve the smallest amount of financial assistance from the Government.

“But we also know that a rail project can seldom sustain itself financially. No operator can bear the cost of infrastructure, land acquisition, signalling system and rolling stock from the collection of fares alone as it will never pay for itself.

“Rail projects will require some forms of assistance from the Government, but we are looking at the least form of assistance,” he told the press at an editors’ briefing on SPAD’s plan and key projects yesterday,

Ismal said the HSR project was now in the second phase of a feasibility study that looked into the actual corridors and alignment. This is expected to be completed by year-end.

“This study will provide a more detailed economic impact of the HSR and its engineering challenges,” he said.

He said this time around, the HSR study would be more comprehensive in looking at matters that largely revolved around national interest in contrary with previous HSR proposals that came from the private sector.

It was reported that the idea on the HSR came from Performance Management and Delivery Unit laboratory.

On the comparison with KTMB services when its double-tracking is completed, Ismal said the KTMB services would cater to the mass market and freight transportation, while the HSR was targeted at the high and middle-income markets.

SPAD was also in the midst of finalising plans for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project for the Klang Valley, which should draw interest from construction companies because it entails building extra bus lanes in the city centre.

“We have already embarked on the traffic impact assessment study, which is expected to be completed by year-end and we plan to start physical work early next year.

“The project will take 12 to 18 months to be completed and will be fully funded by the Government. It will have to go through an open tender procurement process,” he said.

On the Rapid Transit System project, which links Johor Baru and Singapore, Ismal said: “The project will be funded by both Malaysia and Singapore. As of now, the tender for consultancy services for the alignment and design of the project is closed,” he said.

These three projects were part of SPAD’s 50 priority projects from a total of more than 200 projects that has already gained traction or will begin this year.

“The development of the 50 projects is on-going. Some of the projects are still in the concept stage and haven’t obtained the commitment from the Government.

“But, we are pushing forward the projects for the development of public transport. We are doing our best to convince the Government that in certain cases that are no other available options but to put in the infrastructure,” he said.

On the mass rapid transit, Ismal said the study for the second and third lines would start early next month.

By The Star

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