KAJANG: Malaysia's first mass rapid transit (MRT) system, the 51-kilometre Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line, was launched and opened to the public today.
Two launch ceremonies were held simultaneously at the underground Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) station and the Kajang station this morning and was officiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
With the launch, 19 stations will commence operations under Phase 2 of the line, fully completing the entire 31 stations of the SBK route.
In his speech today, Najib said the completion of the SBK line was at the top of his priority list, as he knew that residents of the Klang Valley badly needed a modern, efficient, reliable and safe mode of transportation.
"I know that traffic congestion has become a regular occurrence on our roads due to the lack of focus on public transport previously. Commuting has become stressful with hours which could be better spent productively, or being with loved ones, wasted on the road.
"The government will continue to place emphasis on developing more public transport projects under ‘Projek Infra Rakyat’, so that the public will be able to enjoy the benefits of such projects," he said.
Najib added that other people-centric projects are being considered, including the MRT3 or the Circle Line.
"I am told that the feasibility study for (the MRT3) has been completed and the views of authorities and stakeholders are currently being sought. The study will be tabled at the National Economic Council early this September.
"As with the first two MRT lines, I am very keen to see the MRT3 built. The government will do all it can, including ensuring funding, in order to be able to develop this line as soon as possible," he said.
The Prime Minister said there was no reason why further MRT lines beyond MRT 3 should not be looked at.
"Kuala Lumpur and the Klang valley, as well as other urban areas will continue to grow and the need for modern, efficient and sustainable modes of transportation will follow.
"In view of this, studies and planning for new MRT lines should be done now so that we are not too late in meeting this need," he added.
On the SBK line being delivered on time and below target cost, Najib said this success was brought about due to the government getting the structures for the project right from the very beginning.
"This included having the MRT project Exco, appointment of a project delivery partner with DanaInfra Nasional Bhd, providing the funds for the project," he said.
The MRT will integrate with existing and future rail-based networks to form the backbone of the Klang Valley’s public transportation system.
Normal revenue service between Sungai Buloh and Kajang will start operating on July 18, while the paid-to-paid linkways at the three interchange stations will also open then, allowing commuters to switch between the MRT and LRT services without exiting the gates and purchasing new tickets.
Najib also announced surprise goodies for passengers boarding trains between Kajang station and Muzium Negara stations, as they will be able to enjoy free rides from 4pm onwards today until midnight.
Fares will also be discounted at 50 per cent beginning tomorrow until Aug 31 for all MRT, LRT, monorail and commuter line passengers.
Reported by Zarina Zakariah, Arfa Yunus, Tharanya Arumugam, Soo Wern Jun