Guan Eng: LRT3 final cost to be reduced by 47% (Updated)

PETALING JAYA: The final cost of the LRT3 project will be reduced by 47% from RM31.65 billion to RM16.63 billion, albeit at the expense of several key features and measures announced previously.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said this included the shelving of construction of five of the 25 stations with very low projected passenger ridership — Lien Hoe, Temasya, Sirim, Bukit Raja and Bandar Botanic — until such a time the demand is deemed as necessary to be built.

He said the timeline for the completion of the 37km project would also be extended from 2020 to 2024 to further reduce construction cost which was inflated due to 'acceleration costs' in an attempt to speed up its completion.

"The savings of more than RM15 billion would not only mean a massive reduction in debt to be incurred, but also result in additional savings to the tax-payers of up to RM14 billion in interest cost over the period of the loan financing.

"The 47% reduction in cost demonstrates that the new government is walking the talk in securing significant cost reductions for excessively-priced projects caused by the poor governance of the previous government," he said in a statement today.

Lim said stations would also be built smaller based on the existing Kelana Jaya LRT line standards compared to the benchmarked larger MRT stations.

"We will also reduce the order of 42 sets of six-car trains to 22 sets of three-car trains as based on our feasibility study, the 22 sets of 3-car trains is more than sufficient to cope with the anticipated passenger demand until the year 2035 before additional 3-car trains need to be ordered.

"In view of the significantly reduced number of LRT trains to be acquired, the construction size of the LRT train depot will also be reduced," he said.

In addition, the proposed 2km tunnel for the LRT3 with an underground station at Persiaran Hishamuddin in Shah Alam will also be cancelled.

Lim added that the project would also be restructured from a project delivery partner (PDP) contract to a fixed price contract to ensure it does not face cost overruns in the future.

On Wednesday, Lim had said that Malaysia has received offers to half the cost of building the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail (HSR) project.

Speaking to the Singapore Straits Times, he said the government may consider resuming the project if the initial costs of the project, which stood at RM110 billion, was lowered by half.

He however said formal proposals had yet to be made.