THE government has emphasised the transformation of the public transportation system as one of the key pillars in Malaysia’s drive towards becoming a developed and high-income nation.
The initial push to bring this vision to life was the Government Transformation Programme, which looked at enhancing the urban public transportation system in the Greater Kuala Lumpur/ Klang Valley (KL/ KV) area by delivering reliable, cost-effective, and safe public transportation services to the people, as well as improving first and last mile connectivity.
This urban mobility serves as a key enabler to support Greater Kuala Lumpur’s thriving economic growth, growing population, and diverse expectations of urban activity. Through successful implementation of an efficient public transportation system, new and enhanced growth clusters will be opened up along with improved economic prosperity in terms of creating employment and business opportunities for all.
In the recent SPAD Annual Review 2017 Report, we have seen early success in public transport migration with the average daily public transport ridership in Greater KL/KV increasing from 3.7 per cent to 1,206,111 compared with 2016.
This achievement is attributed to the urban rail projects — the Light Rapid Transit, Monorail, Keretapi Tanah Melayu, and
the Mass Rapid Transit Line 1— all these provide a big step forward in infrastructure integration, with more potential for long-term impact from upcoming projects.
At the same time, there is a need to spread economic growth beyond the Greater KL/KV area. Further facilitating intra-urban mobility is KTM’s Electrified Double-Tracking Project (EDTP) that links Padang Besar to Gemas, completed in 2015. Work is also being done on the Gemas-Johor Baru line, and the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), connecting the Klang Valley with the states of Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan. People outside of the Greater KL/KV area will be able to enjoy not only the economic benefits brought about by these rail projects, but will also be presented with more employment opportunities, greater connectivity, and an enhanced travel experience.
Culminating all the intercity connectivity plans is the development of the cross-border Kuala Lumpur–Singapore High Speed Rail (KL-SG HSR) project as the game-changer for cities along the proposed route and for the broader Malaysian socio-economic landscape.
Parallel with Malaysia’s transformation journey, this project connects two of Southeast Asia’s fast-growing economic engines in just 90 minutes with each HSR hub along the KL-SG HSR corridor earmarked for growth that will contribute towards achieving the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) aspiration. Going beyond connectivity, the unique KL-SG HSR is a catalyst for the economic development of Greater KL/ KV and cities along the HSR corridor — Sepang-Putrajaya, Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Batu Pahat, and Iskandar Puteri.
Global learning from established international HSR projects has shown that early integration of future economic and city planning is instrumental to harnessing the wider benefits of HSR. The first project of its kind in Southeast Asia, the KL-SG HSR will elevate Malaysia to a high-income nation.
KL-SG HSR is progressing on schedule and much has taken place since the signing of the bilateral agreement in December 2016. Among the key milestones in the past year are the concept designs for the seven HSR stations in Malaysia, the launch of the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) and Assets Company (AssetsCo) tenders, and the three-month public inspection.
The station concept designs, launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last October, were inspired by Malaysia’s rich heritage and cultural diversity, while embodying creativity and innovation. Combining the various elements of inspiration, the stations represent Malaysia as a forward-looking nation.
Just recently, MyHSR Corp has selected its PDPs comprising the MRCB-Gamuda and YTL-THP consortia, which will be responsible to develop the detailed design for the infrastructure works, including stations and alignment structures within Malaysia, assist with interface management, land acquisition process, and stakeholder engagement. The contracts will be awarded upon the satisfactory conclusion of negotiations between MyHSR Corp and the MRCB Gamuda and YTL-THP consortia respectively.
The much-awaited AssetsCo tender was jointly launched by both MyHSR Corp and SG HSR last Dec 20. The AssetsCo is responsible for the provision of trains, tracks, signalling and communications systems while also coordinating the system’s network capacity for operations and maintenance needs. Through this open, fair and transparent procurement process, MyHSR Corp and SG HSR target to cooperatively select a qualified bidder by the end of this year.
Additionally, the compulsory three-month public inspection for the KL-SG HSR was successfully completed on Jan 31, receiving more than 35,000 responses — the highest number of participants in a public feedback initiative among rail-based public transportation projects in Malaysia.
Approximately 95 per cent of the visitors and survey respondents are supportive of the KL-SG HSR project, with an overwhelming 98 per cent of positive responses recorded from those surveyed in Kuala Lumpur and Johor.
Throughout this period, we have gone over and beyond in ensuring members of the public get the opportunity to provide their opinions and aspirations and share their concerns through this mandatory public engagement required for projects of this scope.
That said, our team set up over 130 booths at key locations along the alignment, which gave the visiting public an avenue to better understand the KL-SG HSR project in terms of the proposed alignment, typical station features and layout, land acquisition plans, and railway technical data. Additionally, we provided insights to the socio-economic development programme (SEDP), designed to spur the establishment of TOD (transit-oriented development) cities.
Key areas of interest listed by visitors include projected benefits, land acquisition process, proposed station locations, general alignment, and environmental mitigation. Feedback collected from the Public Inspection is currently being studied, in line with best practices and regulatory requirements. One of the key factors critical to the successful building of this infra-rakyat infrastructure lies in ensuring that the KL-SG HSR project is built with the needs of Malaysians in mind.
The KL-SG HSR presents an opportunity for Malaysia to boost socio-economic development in cities along the HSR corridor. The reduction in travel time brought about by the KL-SG HSR will bring the cities closer together, creating opportunities for residents, visitors and businesses.
To fully capture these opportunities arising from the KL-SG HSR, we looked at global case studies to learn best practices on maximising socio-economic benefits resulting from the implementation of the HSR. We found that early integration of socio-economic development planning alongside implementation of HSR, results in increase in population and creation of jobs, due to the development of new economic activities and the transformation of cities.
Hence, the SEDP was developed to guide holistic socio-economic development along the KL-SG HSR corridor, incorporating opportunities arising from the implementation of the HSR into development planning to accelerate inclusive growth. It is a collaborative effort between MyHSR Corp with stakeholders from the federal, state and local governments, sector-specific custodian agencies, and the private sector to achieve the following objectives:
ALIGN and accelerate delivery of national, sectoral, regional, state, and local development plans;
SUPPORT integrated approaches to development planning for inclusive and sustainable growth across the cities; and,
MAXIMISE socio-economic benefits for local communities and ensure meaningful participation in development.
SEDP has three elements of holistic socio-economic development:
ECONOMY : Explores opportunities to stimulate the development potential of the prioritised economic growth areas across the HSR corridor, supported by ecosystem requirements and enablers as needed;
INCLUSIVITY : To ensure inclusive growth, by looking at affordable housing, entrepreneurship opportunities and access to skills, training and job opportunities; and,
SUSTAINABILITY : A key consideration in the creation of vibrant and dynamic cities along the KL-SG HSR corridor via TOD, connectivity and low-carbon city agenda.
The successful delivery of the SEDP is contingent upon its effective and efficient implementation and it may involve enablers, i.e. actions or resources, provided by the government, in collaboration with the private sector.
To this end, MyHSR Corp is excited and committed to working together with all stakeholders as we inch closer towards a brighter, better Malaysia.