PM suggests the future of Malaysian urbanites may commute in self-driving electric vehicles
Since Malaysia’s National Transformation Programme in 2010 kick-started, among other things, a drive to enhance the country’s land public transportation network, over 700 kilometres of double-tracked intercity rail lines had been put into place.
But Malaysia still has some way to go in respect of reimagining its transportation network towards sustainable urban mobility for the future, says prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“Driverless vehicles, predictive maintenance for trains, electric cars- who knows what else the future will unveil? What is clear is that people and cities are on the cusp of changing rapidly and dramatically as advancements in mobility technology converge in the marketplace,” says Najib.
The shorter-term goal is clear: achieving a 40% modal share for land public transport in Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley by 2030, according to the National Land Public Transport Master Plan unveiled in 2013. Driving the plan is the Urban Rail Development Plan which prioritised rail transport as the public transportation system’s backbone.
Urban Rail Development Projects
Among the major rail projects over the past seven years include:
- 2016 – 35km LRT Extension Programmes completed.
- 2016 – In August, LRT3 project launched, with 26 stations spanning 37km.
- 2016 – In September, Najib broke the ground for MRT Line 2 construction, which will span 52.2km over 37 stations when completed.
- 2017 – In July, MRT Line 1 (Sungai Buloh – Kajang) began servicing 31 stations over a 51km distance with a complementary fleet of 300 MRT feeder buses.
- 2017 – In August, Najib officiated the groundbreaking for Kota Sultan Ahmad Shah station of the East Coast Rail Link project that will connect Port Klang to the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
- 2017 – In December, Malaysia expects to sign a bilateral agreement with Singapore on 4km Johor Bahru-Woodlands Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project that is slated to complete in 2024.
- 2017 – Authorities conducting detailed feasibility studies on the MRT Line 3 alignment from Sungai Buloh to Serdang and Putrajaya.
- 2018 – Proposed high-speed rail line connecting Kuala Lumpur to Singapore is expected to begin construction in end-2018.
- 2019 – RM1.41 billion upgrades to 22-year-old KTM network expected to complete.
Apart from these rail projects, Malaysia had also invested nearly RM1 billion in bridging first-mile and last-mile connectivity through bus networks.
In turn, these investments are in line with the 11th objective of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which calls for investment in sustainable public transport in urban areas which are expected to house two-thirds (65%) of the world’s population by 2030 compared to about half at the moment.
“Over the past decade, the Government has invested billions in building and upgrading rail network, in both intercity and Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley. We have expanded the urban rail network from 279km to the present 369km and this will grow to 505km with the completion of LRT3, MRT2 and MRT 3 Circle Line,” says Najib.
“By 2027, when the East Coast Rail Link, the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail, JB-Woodlands (North) RTS and other urban rail lines are completed, rail mileage across the nation will come close to 3,000km, 65% more than the present rail network which is a major infrastructure enhancement,” adds Najib.