MRT project on track, says PM


DELIVERING PROMISES: It's govt's crown jewel, development benchmark, says Najib

 KUALA LUMPUR: THE Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project, geared to spur the growth of the Klang Valley and Greater Kuala Lumpur, is set to be the country's benchmark for future development.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the project, of which its underground line from Semantan to Maluri would run for 9.5km and part of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT line, would undoubtedly improve the economy and the way of living among city dwellers.

In his speech to launch the world's first variable density tunnel-boring machine (VDTBM), capable of excavating through any soil composition, Najib said the project also marked the government's commitment to delivering its promises.

He was proud to note that the project was going according to schedule and budget.

"I still remember when the project was first initiated two years ago in 2011. I could detect scepticism among certain quarters, whether this behemoth of a project could be delivered on time.

"But fast forward today, a sophisticated machine is standing ready to bore a tunnel under Kuala Lumpur. All of that hard work has paid off."

Najib said in commencing the plans, the MRT executive council headed by the Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Ali Hamsa did a detailed study on the project.

Najib described the MRT as the government's "crown jewel" project.

"I even included the auditor-general and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency on the roster to ensure that there was no mismanagement and leakages."

Najib said this was because he prioritised the people's needs in accordance with the Government Transformation Programme, targeting fully-developed nation status by 2020.

"The people's new mandate, fresh after the 13th General Election showed that they have their faith in Barisan Nasional leading the country.

"I want to ensure that all initiatives launched will continue to be carried out and achieve theirtargets."

With the MRT project for example, Najib said thousands of job opportunities had been created and the bulk of vacancies were filled by local professionals who had worked overseas.

"This brain gain has surely benefited us in many ways. Their skills and expertise are very much appreciated.

"Furthermore, tunnelling is a niche field in engineering and I am proud to say that we have home-grown experts in the country."

The prime minister said the VDTBM was jointly designed by local contractor MMC Gamuda KVMRT Tunnelling and German company Herrenkenecht AG, an expert in tunnel-boring machines.

Present was MRT Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launching the world’s first variable density tunnel-boring machine in Jalan Cochrane, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday. With him are Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Ali Hamsa (second from right) and Land Public Transport Commission chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar (right). Pic by Yazit Razali

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