Media statement by DAP National Political Education Director and MP for Kluang Liew Chin Tong, on 17 October 2014 in Kuala Lumpur
Public transport in Malaysia is notorious for its inconvenience to the commuters because of the poor end-to-end connection, which is the difficulty to access or connect one transport mode to another.
To promote the ridership of public transport, it is essential to have public transport integration between rail, bus, taxi and air services in order to complete the last mile to the destination.
I have asked the Transport Ministry whether the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) would be connected to other existing railways.
The ministry’s reply dated 8 October 2014 reads (as attached):
“Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has organized a detailed discussion with State Governments to finalize the HSR railway stations in the identified area based on the state development plan.
Currently, the southern corridor of HSR is not projected to be located next to existing Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) railway route. Hence, the HSR project would not connect to other railway services.”
From the reply, the Transport Ministry and Prime Minister’s Department-controlled SPAD has failed to learn the lesson of disastrous disconnection between three major Kuala Lumpur railways’ routes—Putra LRT, Star LRT and Monorail in Kuala Lumpur in the 1990s.
Due to government planning oversight, the trio of rail routes did not have common stations for passengers’ convenience. For instance, commuters had to walk 500 meters from the Monorail station to KL Sentral main station without a covered walkway. This problem would not arise if the monorail station was built to stop inside the KL Sentral building for convenient integration with the LRT and KTM lines.
The end terminal of HSR in Malaysia should also be connected to KL Sentral or Bandar Tasik Selatan (TBS) as the former is the main railway hub while latter is the bus terminal for southern-bound buses.
Both stations are ideal options to serve an integration point with KTM, Star LRT and bus services instead of Bandar Malaysia (located in TUDM Sungai Besi), which was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as the final terminal of HSR in Kuala Lumpur.
Despite the hype generated by the government and media, the shape of Bandar Malaysia—developed by the questionable 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) remains sketchy, even though the scheduled completion date is in the year 2020.
As far as public access to the future HSR terminal station at Bandar Malaysia is concerned, can it be made more convenient than existing the KL Sentral and TBS terminals?
I urge the government to come out with a holistic HSR plan which includes KTM Intercity train services and bus services for the public’s good, especially for the southern states of Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka. For instance, there should be a 50-km link built from Kluang, one of the main KTM stations, to the proposed HSR station in Batu Pahat.
Such integration would optimize the usage of HSR which only limited to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, by encouraging people who stay along in Kluang and Segamat second line cities to take it.
This would not only create a spillover benefit of HSR to railway towns in the vicinity, but increasing its ridership would make the HSR fare cheaper and cost viable.
HSR must be integrated with other public transport modes for the convenience of commuters to reach their final destination. Without such integration, HSR would only become another expensive white elephant and loss-making project.
Liew Chin Tong