Malaysia’s Railway Networks Spearhead National Development

February 28, 2018 at 10:54 am

28 February 2018

Continuing to grow manifolds, Malaysia’s railway networks spearhead overall national development
Malaysians have just returned to work from their Chinese New Year holidays, using various modes of transportation. I am happy to see that our public transportation system continues to improve, from last year’s MRT1 and KL-Tanjong Malim Electric Train Service (ETS) to the future KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR), East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), JB-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) and MRT2, the government will continue to upgrade the public transport system to bring quality service and ensure convenience to the people.

Between 10 and 23 February 2018, the ETS and INTERCITY train services under Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) had transported 178,179 passengers, with the ETS providing 40 trips. Besides these, the Tebrau Shuttle had also increased its train service from the usual 26 trips to 31 with effect from 13 February 2018. It can be seen how the people’s dependence on public transport, especially train services, has been increasing by the days.

Statistics shows that, from the data, during the CNY period in China this year, it was estimated that there were 2.98 billion people moving around, a 30-fold growth as compared to 1979. Yet the journeys were smoother due to the advancement of the public transport system. At the moment, China has constructed 136,000 km of highways, 25,000 km of HSR and opened up a thousand air routes, and possesses the world’s longest bullet train tracks. China’s HSR now accounts for 66.3% of the world’s total HSR distance, with cumulative passenger load now standing at 7 billion, which equals the world’s population.

With the advancement of HSR, the spring festival travel rush in China this year witnessed 201 million people on the move, with travelling time per passenger shortened to an average of 327 minutes. With the 300 km per hour HSR, a reunion dinner is just a few hours away, and travelling a thousand km a day is a reality for more and more people now.

It is learnt that China has also introduced a series of high-tech measures for people’s convenience, for instance the internet, QR codes, Alipay, Wechat, Click-a-ticket and the latest face-recognition instruments where a passenger only needs a mere 3 seconds to get ‘face-scanned’ to step on board.

Last year, I visited CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co. Ltd in China and signed an agreement for the purchase of 22 coaches. The Malaysian government’s decision to purchase Chinese coaches is based on China’s possession of the locomotive-related complete intellectual property rights, coupled with good quality, mature technology, high safety standards and low maintenance fees, as well as CRRC’s setting up of a plant in Malaysia’s Ipoh, which not only brings employment and spearheads the related property development in the locality, but also promotes technology transfer.

The spring festival travel exodus and public transportation development experience in China have provided us with a lot of learning points. I hope to extract the best aspects to make possible a high quality public transport system in Malaysia, for the benefit of the masses.