Malaysia: Mass Transit Project a ‘Game Changer’

Hadi Azmi
2017.01.26
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A girl joins her parents for a ride on the MRT train, Jan. 14, 2017. [HadiAzmi/BenarNews]

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An MRT train approaches the Semantan station with the Kuala Lumpur skyline in the background, Jan. 14, 2017. [HadiAzmi/BenarNews]

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The Sungai Buloh-Kajang line follows Jalan Damansara, one of the busiest roads around Kuala Lumpur, Jan. 14, 2017. [HadiAzmi/BenarNews]

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A family takes advantage of the first month of free service on the train, Jan. 14, 2017. [HadiAzmi/BenarNews]

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A worker takes a break at the under-construction Tun Razak Exchange station, set to be launched in July, Jan. 14, 2017. [HadiAzmi/BenarNews]

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The Kuala Lumpur Central station will be connected with the MRT service in July. [HadiAzmi/BenarNews]

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An MRT train approaches the Pusat Bandar Damansara station, Jan. 14, 2017. [HadiAzmi/BenarNews]

The new Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line of the Mass Rail Transit (MRT) system, which serves the Kuala Lumpur area, opened to the public in mid-December, offering free rides during its first month of operation.

The first MRT line serving the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur connects the township of Sungai Buloh in northern Klang Valley to the town of Kajang in the southeast. MRT officials expect that some 400,000 people will ride the line every day.

After five years of construction, Prime Minister Najib Razak hailed the mega transport project as a “game changer” and Malaysia’s most modern transport system, when launching it on Dec. 15.

Twelve stations scattered along 21 km (13 miles) are operational and serviced by 120 feeder buses over 26 routes. The second phase, which covers 30 km (18.6 miles) involving 19 stations from Semantan to Kajang, is expected to be up and running by July 31. Total cost of this portion of the project is estimated at 21 billion ringgit (U.S. $4.7 billion)

“It’s actually cool to see the traffic jam from above rather than being in it. It gives us more time for other things,” Danil Roslan, a resident of Petaling Jaya, told BenarNews.

“It proves that public transport is not just for the lower income sector and is actually necessary for everyone,” Bangsar resident Amy Choo said.

A second project, the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya Line covering 52.2 km (32.4 miles), is expected to begin carrying riders in 2021. When complete, it is expected to carry 529,000 riders per day. Estimated cost for this project is 32 billion ringgit ($7.2 billion).

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