Wednesday, March 16, 2011

MRT part of 20-year plan for Malaysian Public Transport

KUALA LUMPUR: The Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT project is only the beginning of improved public transport services for the future, says Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.

"The project is part of a 20-year master plan to raise the standard of public transport service in stages.

"The plan is scheduled to be ready in September," he said during his visit to Balai Berita here with a SPAD delegation yesterday.

Syed Hamid said the plan would feature a range of short- and long-term initiatives that included the National Public Transport Policy and Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley Public Transport Plan.

He said SPAD would focus on developing urban rail systems followed by other forms of public transport.

"We have plans to improve bus, taxi and terminal services, as well as connectivity between the various modes of public transport.

"In Thailand and Indonesia, their public transport systems are developing rapidly," said SPAD chief operating officer Mohd Nur Kamal.

"We cannot afford to fall behind and the MRT project is part of our efforts to improve the public transport system."

Construction of the MRT rail line is expected to start on July 1 in Sungai Buloh.

A dialogue session was held between SPAD and New Straits Times Press Bhd (NSTP) top management, comprising NSTP chairman Tan Sri Mohamed Jawhar, group managing editor Datuk Zainul Arifin Mohammed Isa, New Straits Times group editor Datuk Syed Nadzri Syed Harun and Berita Harian group editor Datuk Mior Kamarul Shahid.

At the session, Syed Hamid addressed the public's concerns on how the project would affect the residential areas along the proposed MRT rail line.

"The commission wants to be as transparent as possible, which is why we have been trying to get feedback from the public by holding roadshows since last month to display our plans to the public. The roadshows will run until May.

"There have been a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding the MRT project and we are now trying to get the right information out to the public.

"We are in the midst of setting up a page on our official website to address frequently-asked questions."

The public can also share their concerns or lodge complaints by calling SPAD's toll-free line at 1800-889-600 or email aduan@spad.gov.my.

In Parliament yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said the MRT's estimated development cost would be known in May.

"The overall development cost, including the underground works, is being reviewed. The current public information display on the MRT project until May 14 will help to determine the cost of the project," said Nazri in reply to a question by Tan Seng Giaw (Kepong-DAP).

He said Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd, the asset owner and MRT operator, was conducting a pre-qualification process for contractors.

"The tender will be opened after all the needs for the project have been worked out," said Nazri.

On SPAD's recent visit to MTR Corp in Hong Kong, Nazri said a total of RM65,206 was spent on travelling and accommodation for the eight-member delegation.

Nazri said SPAD members obtained better understanding of the rail model to reduce development cost.

"The delegates also learned about the challenges to build underground rail network," he said in reply to a question by Loke Siew Fook (Rasah-DAP).

*Taken from NST Online

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