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MRT Line From Sg Buloh To Kajang To Be Finalised Between April And May [10-01-2011]  
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The locations of the 35 stations of the first mass rapid transit (MRT) line from Sg Buloh to Kajang are expected to be finalised between April and May, says Land Public Transport Commi-ssion (SPAD) chief executive officer, Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal.

"We have not finalised the locations yet. We have the ideas ... we have the potential locations but nothing is finalised as it needs to be done through proper consultation with the public," he told reporters on the sidelines of the four-day working visit here today.

The line, with about 9.5km underground, will run through Sg Buloh, Kota Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, Cheras to Kajang.

However, it was previously reported the alignment of the MRT may differ from what it was first proposed by MMC-Gamuda JV Sdn Bhd, the project delivery partner, as some highly busy hubs like Klang, Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam were not included in the initial MRT alignment.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Senator Datuk Seri Idris Jala, was quoted as saying the government was exploring other options of the MRT alignment so that it could effectively connect other densely-populated areas to encourage a greater flow within the Klang Valley.

Mohd Nur said a roadshow would be held in February to seek public feedback before the public display from March to May.

Asked from which country the MRT's trains would be acquired, he said the government has not decided, adding that, "it will be done through open tender".

"It will be done through the best specification possible, taking into consideration long-term cost of ownership. All will be done properly, openly and globally to make sure we have the best value possible," he said.

He said the government was busy seeking the best elements to be merged with the much-awaited MRT project, so that it could churn spillover effects to the country's economy.

The four-day visit, from Jan 5, was headed by SPAD chairman, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.

Mohd Nur said the visit was fruitful as the delegation managed to learn about the business model operated by the Hong Kong's metro system operator, MTR Corp, especially the idea of merging commercialisation with the MRT development.

"There are a lot of fantastic ideas. We doing this as an ongoing effort to really make this MRT project a success in terms of minimising the government's cost and developing opportunities for commercialisation," he said.

Established in 1975, MTR Corp is also involved in a wide range of business activities like consultancy services as well as property leasing and management in addition to its railway operations.

Todate the MTR has completed development of 27 stations, generated 74,16 housing units and more than 1.7 million sq metres of commercial space.

It also owns and manages a number of retail complexes throughout the country, and the business model has been proven successful as the cost of building new railways is borne by profits generated from the property segment.

"So, that's why we are interested in this model. For example, the MTR Corp manages to get about 35 per cent of its revenue from non-fare segment.

"In terms of profit, it is almost 50 per cent (fares) and 50 per cent (non-fares revenue). So property is delivering a lot of profit to the bottom-line and that is used to offset the cost of infrastructure.

"Based on MTR Corp's model, they don't actually used their money to develop the infrastructure as it is done through private venture. We are also looking at public-private partnership structure for this project," he said.

However, he said, the government has no immediate plan to appoint MTR Corp as consultant for Kuala Lumpur MRT, adding that the government was also looking the best practices also from the other part of the world to be adopted.

"We will look globally ... what have successfully been done in other countries like London and Singapore as there are different ingredients that work for them but might not work for us.

"So, we should incorporate everything to make this project successful," he said.

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