PKR has urged Putrajaya to wait for Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) to complete its electric train service (ETS) between Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru before going ahead with its high-speed rail project (HSR).
The party’s strategic director Sim Tze Tzin cautioned that rushing the HSR, which leads back and forth between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, could result in a waste of billions of ringgit.
“According to economists, the HSR requires 140 million trips a year to ‘break even’. This is equivalent to 384,000 trips per day.
“The population of Malaysia, Singapore and tourists are not sufficient to meet that demand,” he said in a statement today.
Sim claimed that though the HSR was faster than the ETS, the difference in travel time only translated to between 60 and 90 minutes.
“To rail passengers, this difference is not significant and they would rather save costs when it comes to ticket pricing. Those who are in a hurry can get on a plane anyway,” he said.
Sim said the cost to build the HSR is estimated to be between RM40 and RM60 billion but that this was a “conservative estimate” since the value of the ringgit and inflation that will occur during the building phase may mean the cost would be even higher.
“The government’s ability to finance the project is highly doubtful since the federal government’s debt has now exceeded RM655 billion and interest paid by the government now is RM73 million every day.
“Is the government going to sell the HSR runway land to companies from China or Japan in order to finance the high cost of the project, just as how 1MDB has sold its assets to a company in China to pay off debts?
“If so, we want to ask, how much land will be sacrificed for the sake of this luxury project.”
Source : FMT Online