The Malaysian Government is looking to potentially set up a separate entity to oversee the development of specific areas located along the proposed high-speed rail (HSR) project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
The project which is slated to cost around US$12,599bil, will connect the cities Penang, KL and Johor Bahru with Singapore and is to be completed sometime before 2020.
The Land Public Transport Commission (Spad) chief executive Mohamad Nur Ismal Kamal has stated that the entity could be a special authority which will look at the socio-economic aspect of the towns.
“The development of these towns located along potential stops or stations of the HSR would be leveraging on the existing economic environment there but we will push it up the value chain slanting more towards high-end industries,”.
He said Spad was working on the draft by itself for now, but there could be a standalone authority to focus on this development as “it’s very important to have everything in concert and coordinated, once the ball starts rolling “This is because the HSR project is expected to be a game-changer for the creation of two mega cities and high value socio-economic clusters in between,” According to Mohamad Nur.
While most of these stops in Malaysia do not have high population density, Mohamad Nur believed the project would boost the profile of the connecting areas, which, in turn, would attract new investments
The HSR is estimated to save up to 1½ hours of travelling time compared to boarding a flight with a capacity for 500 passengers in one sitting. The total estimated time for the 350-km journey from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore is 1½ hours.
It will provide two types of services – the first being an express service between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, while the other is a transit service that will stop at all five proposed stations.
The HSR project, according to Mohamad Nur, would be a catalyst of transport high-value workers and customers, but it would need an active planning and clear policies coordinated with the development of the HSR.
At both ends of the HSR, he said, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore would be further developed into two mega cities with population exceeding 10 million people and high income per capita such as in Hong Kong, New York and Shanghai.