BATU GAJAH: Malaysia aims to venture into the train manufacturing industry with the support of China’s largest train manufacturer, Transport Minister Anthony Loke (pix) said today.
He said he welcomed investment from China Railway Rolling Stock Corp (CRRC) in order to materialise the plan which could see Malaysia becoming the ASEAN rail manufacturing hub.
“I invite them (CRRC) to further increase investment in Malaysia to increase capacity and to make this Malaysian assembly plant the hub of the ASEAN region. Currently, they have the capacity to assemble 200 train cars per year here for the local market. However, with the enlargement, they could double up the manufacturing.
“I think not only maintenance or overhaul but more engineering parts and whole sets can be done here for the ASEAN market,” he told reporters after visiting the CRRC Rolling Stock Centre here.
Loke said the major cities in the ASEAN region were in need of the light rail transit, metro, suburban rail, locomotive and cargo trains.
“Every country is developing and train transportation has become the popular and affordable mode of transportation in many big cities such as Bangkok and Jakarta in the ASEAN region,” he said.
Loke said the expected expansion of the plant will see the Chinese train manufacturer having joint ventures with local companies, which will allow the locals to learn about the industry.
“Right now, about 85 per cent of the workers in the plant are locals. CRRC also sends the local workers to China to learn the skills and when they return they hold high positions in the company,” he said.
Loke said the CRRC Rolling Stock Centre, which was established in 2015 at a cost of RM400 million, was the first and only train manufacturing centre in the ASEAN region based in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, China’s Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian said the CRRC was a successful cooperation project between China and Malaysia.
“Both countries share the common vision of exploring the ASEAN market in supplying the railway and train equipment,” he said.
Bai Tian also said that CRRC was not the only success story of a venture between the two countries as China had invested in about 400 products in Malaysia worth US$110 billion (about RM455.8 billion) which has created 16,800 job opportunities. — Bernama