More 'infra-rakyat' projects to come: Najib (Updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak today launched the second phase of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line and said it would be the beginning of many more 'infra-rakyat' (people's infrastructure) projects in the country.

The Prime Minister said these projects included the MRT Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya Second Line, Bandar Utama-Johan Setia LRT3, East Coast railway, Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail and upgrading of the monorail and Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) systems.

"All these will be implemented by the government. When the MRT3 or MRT Circle Line is ready, by 2027, we will see a fully-integrated public transportation system in Kuala Lumpur. That's our dream.

"Based on track record, we (the government) can achieve this objective," he said at the launch of the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line second phase at the Tun Razak Exchange underground station here.

Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Cabinet ministers and MRT Corp CEO Datuk Seri Shahril Mokhtar were also present at the launch.

Najib said that since taking over the leadership of the country, he realised that Kuala Lumpur, as the federal capital, needed an efficient and a reliable transportation system network at affordable rates for all the people.

"We have learned from the experience of other capital cities in this region; the traffic congestion is so severe that an individual is forced to spend eight to 10 hours daily on the road.

"Before Kuala Lumpur faces such a predicament, we have to take measures to avert that situation (of traffic congestion)  because the signs are already there, especially when it rains," he said.

The Prime Minister said a good transportation system network can benefit the people by enabling them to save time and travel costs, enhance productivity and the spirit to work while also reducing the cost of living.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line was completed earlier than the scheduled end of July and had helped to save RM2 billion from the initial targeted project cost of RM23 billion.

He also said that bumiputera companies comprised 50% of the companies engaged in the implementation of the project and bumiputera traders made up 51% of the traders allotted business premises at the MRT stations.

"Our move to incorporate the bumiputera agenda in the MRT project did not affect its smooth implementation because only those properly qualified were given the opportunity. We did not give to our cronies," he said.

Najib said the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line is 51km in total and has 31 stations, and would benefit 1.2 million Malaysians besides tourists visiting the federal capital.

He said the project could have a positive effect on the environment because 160,000 vehicles were expected to be off the roads, thus reducing 752,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission annually.

The Prime Minister also announced a 50% discount on the fares for the MRT, LRT and Monorail services for all users from tomorrow to Aug 31 in conjunction with the independence anniversary of the country.

The second phase of the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line has 19 stations, seven of which are underground.

These are the Muzium Negara, Pasar Seni, Merdeka, Bukit Bintang, Tun Razak Exchange Centre, Cochrane, Maluri, Taman Pertama, Taman Midah, Taman Mutiara, Taman Connaught, Taman Suntex, Sri Raya, Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, Batu Sebelas Cheras, Bukit Dukung, Sungai Jernih, Stadium Kajang and Kajang stations.

Each train has four coaches with a total capacity of 1,200 passengers per journey, and the daily number of passengers are expected to be 400,000.

The trains operate at a frequency of 3.5 minutes during the peak periods. — Bernama