KUALA LUMPUR: The government is mulling a major upgrade on Stesen Sentral Kuala Lumpur (KL Sentral), the first since it opened for operation in 2001, to cater the increasing number of commuters and traffic volume in the area.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the facelift was timely as the transportation hub has exceeded its 100,000 daily commuters capacity.
"KL Sentral receives an average of 200,000 commuters daily prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and currently it caters to about 70,000 commuters everyday.
"The upgrade plan needs to be drawn from a holistic view, not just in providing public transportation to the public, but to have a comfortable terminal.
"We will hold further discussions with the stakeholders on this," he told reporters after distributing Ramadan giveaways to KL Sentral users in conjunction with its 20th anniversary celebration today.
Earlier in a speech, Wee said KL Sentral has set a global benchmark for transit-oriented development as it has a reference for similar establishments in countries like Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Republic of Guinea and New Zealand.
"It is an honourable recognition for the country's transportation system development, in line in with our efforts to make Malaysia an exemplary developed nation.
"Malaysians, especially those in the Klang Valley continue to benefit from services at KL Sentral, which is a landmark in the capital city."
When talking about measures put in place amidst the pandemic, Wee assured commuters' safety was the highest priority because this was emphasised in all aspects of the terminal's operations.
He said Wee said KL Sentral would continue to be a vital transport hub with two upcoming mega rail projects.
"Upon completion of the East Coast Rail Link ( ECRL) project and south-bound Electric Train Services (ETS), we will further see an increase of daily commuters at KL Sentral.
"This place will be the biggest interchange point (in the country). We have to address the congestion issue in the area and conduct a traffic impact assessment."
When recalling the history of the KL Sentral Site, Wee said it was originally a marshalling yard owned by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) and used as a depot and warehouse to repair rail coaches.
"In 1997, MRCB's subsidiary Kuala Lumpur Sentral Sdn Bhd was given the mandate to develop a modern transportation hub through a concessionaire.
"At the time, the 29.13ha land was earmarked for a business hub, now known as KL Sentral CBD due to its strategic location and was expected to attract foreign investors in Malaysia."
Following this, plans to upgrade the public transportation in the city were put in motion, in tandem with infrastructure development, which saw the development of KL Sentral.
At the same event, MRCB Foundation contributed a total of RM100,000 to assist the B40 community including the visually-impaired individuals affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The beneficiaries were the Malaysian Foundation for the Blind, PPR Lembah Pantai, Lighthouse Children Welfare Home Association Kuala Lumpur and Selangor and Pertubuhan Kebajikan Baitul Hasan Kuala Lumpur.
This contribution will benefit about 500 people by providing food aid and sponsoring basic household items for the charity homes.