MRT Corp looking to reduce RM32b cost of MRT2

By RAHIMI YUNUS

MASS Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp), together with the government, are looking for ways to reduce the cost of the MRT Line 2 (MRT2).

“We are exploring to see how we can further reduce the cost for the MRT2 line,” CEO Datuk Shahril Mokhtar said after meeting with the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) for the second time in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.

Although he did not reveal what measures will be taken for the cost-cutting to be realised, he is confident that MRT Corp will be able to fulfil such plans.

The MRT2 line, or the Sungai-Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya Line, which runs from Sungai Buloh to Putrajaya, connects 35 stations and costs about RM32 billion.

To date, MRT Corp has awarded close to RM27 billion worth of contracts for the system and civil work packages.

The remaining RM5 billion will fund the works on the stations, the multi-storey car park, designated supplier items such as escalators, lifts and signages, as well as several viaduct packages.

The 52.2km rail line consists of 38.7km of elevated tracks along with 13.5km underground tracks, which are the biggest cost components of the project.

For its underground project, 12 tunnel boring machines (TBMs) which features eight refurbished TBMs used in the MRT1 and four newly-purchased units will be used.

The first phase of the MRT2 line which runs from Sungai Buloh to Batu Kentonmen is targeted to begin operations in the third quarter of 2021 (3Q21), while the remaining segment will be fully completed a year later in 3Q22.

As at April 2018, the MRT2 line, at 24% work progress thus far, is ahead of schedule.

On a separate note, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) will hold its maiden property development venture until next year as the firm seeks to resolve several internal issues.

The RM6 billion Klang Valley project which is one of the company’s initiatives to ramp-up income from the free-fare segment will see the collaboration between KTMB and its sister firm, Railway Assets Corp.

CEO Rani Hisham Samsudin, who had a briefing with the CEP last Friday, said KTMB needs to improve upon its services and be more efficient, while striking a balance between business and socio- economic agenda for the rakyat in terms of supporting public transportation.

“We make money in some areas and in other areas we don’t, and therefore our cashflow is very tight now, but we are managing it,” Rani Hisham said.

Rani Hisham also dismissed the recent claim made by the Railwaymen’s Union of Malaya president Abdul Razak Md Hassan who said that the previous government bought trainsets valued at RM5.7 billion direct from China without an open tender.

Meanwhile, the Penang Forum steering committee also briefed the CEP last Friday, touching on the need for the Penang Transport Master Plan to be reviewed by a global independent authority, citing concerns on cost and environmental matters on the plan.

Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd CEO Noormah Mohd Noor, who also met the CEP, declined to comment on what had been briefed for her part during the Friday meeting.