KUALA LUMPUR: The opening of the second phase of the Mass Rapid Transit Sungai Buloh-Kajang (MRT SBK) Line is a real game changer in public transportation and will be the beginning of many more “infra-rakyat” (people’s infrastructure) projects in the country, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.
He said these projects included the MRT Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya Second Line, Bandar Utama-Johan Setia LRT3, East Coast railway, Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail and upgrading of the monorail and Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) systems.
“All these will be implemented by the government. When the MRT3 or MRT Circle Line is ready, by 2027, we will see a fully-integrated public transportation system in Kuala Lumpur. That’s our dream.
“Based on track record, we (the government) can achieve this objective,” he said at the launch of the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line second phase at the Tun Razak Exchange underground station here.
Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Cabinet ministers and MRT Corp CEO Datuk Seri Shahril Mokhtar were also present at the launch.
“I remember seven months ago when I launched phase one of the MRT line, I made the commitment that phase two will be open by the end of July.
“The SBK line is ready to start service two weeks ahead of schedule and those involved in the project had brought it in below cost, saving the government RM2 billion,” he said.
He said the 51km line with 31 stations is the most modern urban transport system that has been built in the country.
Najib pointed out that the project had created 130,000 jobs and 70,000 of those jobs related directly to the building of the line.
He said the SBK project will reduce the nation’s CO2 emissions and have a positive effect on the environment because 160,000 vehicles were expected to be off the roads, thus reducing 752,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission annually.
The Prime Minister said the first day he stepped into his office, he asked himself what the public needed most.
He added that to find this out, he asked Pemandu to conduct a study and they came back to him about the need for better public transport system.
“I decided that before our capital city, Kuala Lumpur, faces severe traffic congestion as experienced by other capital cities in this region there was an urgent need for an efficient and a reliable transportation system network at affordable rates,” Najib said, adding that a good transportation system can benefit the people by enabling them to save time and travel costs, enhance productivity and the spirit to work while also reducing the cost of living.
He said the government had also implemented the bumiputra agenda whereby 50% of the companies involved in the MRT project were bumiputras and 51% of retail space at MRT stations had been allotted to bumiputras.
“There was no hand out, only the best got business as they were all asked to tender for the projects, there was no such thing as giving a contract to a crony,” he said.
The Prime Minister also announced a 50% discount on the fares for the MRT, LRT, Monorail and BRT services for all users from today (July18) to Aug 31 in conjunction with the independence anniversary of the country.
The MRT service will operate from 6am to midnight on weekdays and 6am to 11pm on weekends.
Each train will have four coaches with a total capacity of 1,200 passengers per journey and the trains operate at a frequency of 3.5 minutes during peak periods.
Below is a video Malaysian commuters throng to take a ride on MRT 1: