Early completion of MRT Sg Buloh-Semantan line saves cost

KUALA LUMPUR: The early completion of the first phase of Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line (MRT SBK) between Sungai Buloh and Semantan has not only reduced cost and manpower wastage.

It also ensured completion of the project within the stipulated budget, said MRT Strategic Communications and Stakeholder Relations director Datuk Najmuddin Abdullah.

He said operation commencement of the Sungai Buloh-Semantan Line this Dec 16 or 16 days earlier than scheduled also helped to increase efficiency of the whole project which is targeted to be fully operational by July next year.

The RM23 billion MRT SBK line which covers 51km with 31 stations is part of Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) projects initiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

"It is also one of the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) to improve urban public transport, and will be interconnecting with the other three urban rail systems - LRT, KTM Komuter and KL Monorail," he said.

Najmuddin said although 16 days was not a big deal for a layman, it meant a lot from the technical perspective.

"We saved a lot of money, reduced unnecessary construction wastage and the people are able to enjoy the ride earlier," he told Bernama in an exclusive interview recently.

He said one of the main factors that had assisted in earlier completion of the project was the setting up of the executive committee chaired by Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa, who is also MRT Corp chairman.

MRT Corp is fully owned by Minister of Finance Incorporated and set up to be the developer and asset owner of the MRT project.

"The exco, I believe, is the first of its kind in any mega projects in Malaysia.

"It involves secretary generals from several related ministries such as Transport Ministry, Finance Ministry and Health Ministry, together with senior officials from Selangor State Government and Kuala Lumpur City Hall," he said.

Apart from overseeing the project, the committee had assisted MRT Corp in resolving problems related to the Federal and state government in the construction of the project.

Meanwhile, MRT Corp has signed mutual agreements with landowners, that is, private companies to jointly develop the area, including an agreement to coexist with TRX City Sdn Bhd on the development of TRX underground MRT station.

"MRCB Corp will build a 300m pedestrian walkway linking Muzium Negara MRT Station and KL Sentral to benefit the public," he said.

Najmuddin said the MRT project had also created an economic spin-off for the business community as the line not only created an efficient public transport which helped to increase productivity and connectivity, but also increased the value of property and commercial developments.

"The completion of MRT SBK could reduce about 160,000 cars on the road, thus making a significant impact in alleviating the traffic congestion faced today," he said.

He said an estimated 400,000 passengers would take the MRT SBK Line daily, when it is fully operational, and greatly benefit low and middle income commuters.

"By travelling with MRT, they can reduce the financial burden in maintaining wear and tear of their vehicles, especially with the hike in fuel prices, toll rates and parking fees," he said.

He said the fares throughout the MRT SBK Line would be an affordable RM1 to RM6.40.

As for the Sg Buloh-Semantan line, Najmuddin said feeder buses would be provided to transport passengers from the stations to the nearest LRT line, such as from Pusat Bandar Damansara to KL Sentral. — Bernama