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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2nd and 3rd MRT lines for KL awaiting Govt approval

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government is already conducting feasibility studies on the construction of the second and third mass rapid transit (MRT) lines and will make the decision on the lines in early 2013, said the Performance Management & Delivery Unit (Pemandu’s) director of urban public transport & greater Kuala Lumpur Datuk Ahmad Suhaili Idrus.

He said the second line called the ‘Circle Line’ was an orbital line around the main Kuala Lumpur city while the third one was quite similar to the first line (the Sungai Buloh to Kajang line).

“The routes for the third line are shifted a little bit north and runs from Selayang to Seri Kembangan from the northwest to the southeast trajectories,” said Ahmad.

He said the MRT mega-project was aimed mainly at “decongesting traffic in Kuala Lumpur” as there were too many new cars on the roads.

“The number of new cars that enter our roads every year is about half a million. There are also nine million motorcycles.

“This is a very big number to cope with and no amount of new highways can cater for all new (vehicle) registrations every year.

“That is why we need a significant increase in rail capacity to achieve the 50% public transport (ridership) share in 2020,” he said.

He admitted that today’s public transport ridership levels at around 17% was “very low” compared to other cities such as Hong Kong at 87% and Singapore at almost 60%.

“The MRT project is the largest infrastructure project that this country has ever undertaken. The last big one was the KL International Airport.

“The first 51km-long line from Sungai Buloh to Kajang will cost around RM38bil,” he said at the GCC-Malaysia Trade Investment Forum 2012.

He said whenever a new highway, high-speed rail or a new MRT line was built, properties along the alignment would appreciate as people liked to live near public transportation terminals “so that they do not have to drive to work,” which was apparent in most developed countries.

He also said the government was also seriously considering the high-speed rail link between KL and Singapore.

“These are very high speed trains and depending on the design (of the trains) the speed range is from 350 km/h to 450 km/h but we will probably start with the lower (speed range) one. It is very efficient and can also reduce the travel time to between 2 and 2.5 hours. “This is nothing new, as countries such as Japan, China, Taiwan and in particular Europe have so many of them. This is a project that will transform the way people travel between KL and Singapore and it will benefit both countries immensely in the longer run,” he added.

Meanwhile, International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said in his speech at the same function that the signing of the Malaysia-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) Framework Agreement in the areas of economic, commerce, investment and technical cooperation early last year would eventually pave the way for a Free Trade Agreement between Malaysia and the GCC sooner rather than later.

Mukhriz, who officiated at the function, said that areas such as Islamic finance, property development, infrastructure and education could be investment opportunities for both Malaysia and the CGG countries.

By The Star

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