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The Semantan mass rapid transit station. Prasarana Malaysia Bhd says there is no cost over-run for the Sungai Buloh-Kajang line, with the total still at RM23 billion. Pic by Saddam Yusoff

KUALA LUMPUR: Prasarana Malaysia Bhd will take over the operations and maintenance of the Klang Valley Sungai Buloh–Kajang (SBK) mass rapid transit line on December 15.

Prasarana, the country’s largest asset owner and operator of public transport services, would operate the SBK Line via its unit, Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd, starting with Phase 1 from Sungai Buloh to Semantan, said Mass Rapid Transit Corp (MRT Corp) Sdn Bhd strategic communications and stakeholder relations director Datuk Najmuddin Abdullah.

Rapid Rail has a 10-year lease agreement with MRT Corp that was signed in June. The agreement comes with an option for a further five-year extension.

Najmuddin said Phase 1 would begin operations two weeks earlier than the December 31 target.

“Right now I can say that there was no cost over-run for the SBK line. In fact, there would be some cost savings as we are completing Phase 1 earlier than the targeted date.

“However, the last 15 per cent
of the project is the most crucial. Whether we burst or build within budget, we will know only next
year. As of now, there is no cost over-run.

“Phase 2 from Semantan to Kajang will be completed by July next year and Rapid Rail will take it over immediately,” he said, adding that the total construction cost for the SBK line remained RM23 billion.

Najmuddin, who was speaking after a media briefing on the entire Klang Valley MRT network, here, yesterday, said he was confident MRT Corp would be making money from the SBK line.

Although Rapid Rail has the lease to operate and maintain the SBK line, MRT Corp remains the asset owner, which includes ownership of the tracks, systems, stations, depot and rolling stocks.

As the operator, Rapid Rail will lease those assets from MRT Corp for an annual fee.

Besides making money from the collection of annual fees, MRT Corp will also earn revenue from advertising and retail leasing.

The 51km SBK line has a total of 31 stations.

“MRT Corp will not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the SBK line. Rapid Rail will be responsible for maintaining the assets and retain all collected fares,” said Najmuddin.

The fares would be set by the Land Public Transport Commission, he added.

As of Monday, the overall progress of the SBK line was almost 90 per cent.

Testing for systems work, construction of multi-storey car parks and ride facilities are being carried out.

Among the completed works are for the elevated guideways and trackwork on the viaduct section as well as civil structural works for the elevated stations.

All station structure works for the underground section have also been completed.

Meanwhile, Najmuddin said Prasarana would be able to manage the contract, despite recent glitches in the latter’s light rail transit (LRT) system.

He said Prasarana was an experienced rail player, adding that it was unfortunate the hiccups happened twice in a week.

“The two hiccups do not represent the future because I believe they will learn from what had happened and would be more prepared in future, including when they operate the MRT line,” said Najmuddin.

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