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RM160b to lift rail transport [21-06-2012]  
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Malaysia's railway industry will pump up to RM160 billion in total investment between now and 2020 to develop the rail infrastructure, said the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) yesterday.

“The government has invested more than RM50 billion in rail transport since the 1990s. Investment for future rail projects is estimated to reach RM160 billion by 2020,” said SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.

The industry generated more than RM1.7 billion in revenue and employed some 9,500 people in 2010, with that numbers set to increase, he told stakeholders yesterday at the Future Rail 2030: National Rail Industry Development Roadmap briefing.

The government’s aspiration to improve land public transport is reflected in the National Key Result Area and National Key Economic Areas.

SPAD is currently undertaking a series of studies under the Urban Rail Development Plan. Among them are the KL Monorail extension plan from Jalan Tun Sambanthan in Brickfields to Happy Garden in Old Klang Road; MRT 2 circle line from Sentul Timur to Ampang; MRT 3 north-south line from Selayang to Putrajaya;
and the KTMB freight relieved line from Subang to Port Klang.

SPAD has also started a feasibility study on a high-speed rail project linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Syed Hamid said the study was expected to be completed by year-end.

According to the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) website, there are several issues and challenges hampering the development of the local rail industry, including policy and regulation, economy, human capital, technology, lack of investment and environment.

The National Rail Industry Development Roadmap will map out details like reducing foreign dependency, improving greener transportation, capability and capacity, creating new business opportunities for the locals and capturing a bigger share of the US$218 billion (RM690 billion) global rail market.

The initiative for the roadmap started as a foresight programme by MIGHT early last year.

"Today is basically the last engagement with the stakeholders. We hope to finalise the roadmap by August," said MIGHT director of myForesight, Rushdi Abdul Rahim.

The stakeholders are SPAD, MIGHT, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd, Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd and 60 local railway experts like Scomi Group, Skypark Line, CMC Engineering, SMH Rail and Global Rail.

Bombardier, Thales and Colas also attended the briefing.

Rushdi said the roadmap would take into account the expected RM160 billion investment but the focus would be on developing local expertise, supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises and creating jobs.

"There will be a RM50 billion expenditure on the MY Rapid Transit project and as we do not want to rely on outside expertise, we must develop local talent," he said.

Rushdi also said the high-speed rail project was not part of the RM160 billion total investment.

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