SkyscraperCity Forum banner
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 6676 Posts

116,428 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

There is a bullet train project at 300 km/h (186 mph) to link Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, proposed by the current Malaysian operator KLIA Express YTL Corporation, which links Kuala Lumpur with the KLIA. Travel time would be 90 minutes, compared with 4 hours of highway drive, 7 hours currently by standard rail, 2 hours of flight including commuting to and from airport, check in and boarding. Plans for the project were shelved due to high government cost. The project also faces opposition from rail operator rivals such as Keretapi Tanah Melayu.


Govt Drops Plan For High Speed Bullet Train Project, Says EPU Chief
Published: 2008/04/22

PUTRAJAYA, April 22 (Bernama) -- The cost factor was the main reason the government decided not to go ahead with the high-speed bullet train link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore proposed by YTL Corp Bhd.

"The letters on the decision were sent to parties such as YTL and the relevant agencies in early April," said Economic Planning Unit (EPU) director-general, Datuk Seri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob, told Bernama here Tuesday.

He said the government would have to bear a significant cost based on the financial model that was submitted by YTL.

"Based on the financial model submitted by YTL, the government has decided not to go ahead with the bullet train (project)," he said, without elaborating on the amount the government has to bear.

YTL has proposed the RM8 billion project which would take 90 minutes to travel between the two capitals from about seven-and-a-half hours now.

It was earlier reported that the government has allowed YTL to do a feasibility study and it (YTL) came back to say the project was feasible.

The plan for a high-speed train between the two cities, spanning about 300km, was proposed in late 1990s, but garnered strong interest last year after the government invited companies to come up with ideas for privately-funded projects.

Kereta api laju KL-Singapura batal
Oleh Abdul Halim Yusoff

KUALA LUMPUR: Kerajaan memutuskan untuk tidak meneruskan cadangan projek pembangunan sistem kereta api laju yang menghubungkan Kuala Lumpur-Singapura kerana projek itu memerlukan kos yang terlalu tinggi.

Ketua Pengarah Unit Perancang Ekonomi (EPU) di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Sulaiman Mahbob, berkata kerajaan memutuskan untuk tidak menyokong pelaksanaan projek itu selepas meneliti cadangan yang dikemukakan mengenainya.

"Kerajaan tidak akan meneruskan projek kereta api laju itu kerana berdasarkan model kewangan dibentangkan syarikat konsesi, kita perlu menanggung beban kos kewangan yang besar," katanya ketika dihubungi Berita Harian, di sini semalam.

Bagaimanapun, beliau enggan mengulas jumlah kos yang perlu ditanggung kerajaan bagi projek itu yang dikatakan mampu menjimatkan tempoh perjalanan kereta api dari Kuala Lumpur ke Singapura kepada 90 minit, berbanding lebih enam jam ketika ini.

Sulaiman berkata, pihaknya juga sudah memaklumkan keputusan kerajaan itu kepada kementerian, jabatan dan syarikat berkaitan tetapi enggan mengulas lanjut.

Projek kereta api laju yang dianggar memerlukan pelaburan berjumlah kira-kira RM8 bilion itu dicadangkan syarikat prasarana dan pembinaan YTL Corporation Bhd (YTL Corp).
YTL Hopes For Bullet Train Project To Materialise
June 30, 2009 23:00 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 (Bernama) -- Conglomerate YTL Corporation Bhd hopes that the government will pursue the proposed RM8 billion bullet train project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore given its potential economic spin-offs.

Managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh Sock Ping said he wanted to see the project taking shape even if YTL is not involved.

"As a Malaysian citizen, I would like to see this project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore done even if YTL does not build it," Yeoh said at a media briefing at the Invest Malaysia conference here Tuesday.

"It does not matter if the government can build it and anybody can bid for it, but I think this is a project that must be done," he said.

The project proposal came from YTL but it was cancelled due to significant costs to be borne by the government.

It is expected to cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to 90 minutes.

"It is a relevant project. There is a lot of economic value to the high-speed train," Yeoh said.

He said that high-speed trains in other countries like Taiwan (between Taipei and Kaohsiung) and Britain have been successful in connecting people and helping to generate business activities.

"Japan also, how would that country be powerful as an industrial force if not because of the communication. They connected the people in such a powerful way, the high-speed trains," Yeoh said.

"So, I hope this kind of project can materialise soon," he said.

Yeoh said YTL would continue to support the government, adding that the announcement of the liberalisation of foreign ownership will help to boost economic growth.


116,428 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
YTL: KL-S'pore bullet train project economically viable
By Azlan Abu Bakar
Published: 2009/07/01

DIVERSIFIED group YTL Corp Bhd (4677) said it still believes the high-speed bullet train linking Kuala Lumpur to neighbouring Singapore is an economically viable project and hopes the government will reconsider its implementation.

Its managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh said the project is important to further build and strengthen the country's economy. It can also help attract foreign investors to the country.

"We hope the government will continue with the high-speed bullet train project for the sake of the country and the economy," he told a media briefing on the sidelines of Invest Malaysia 2009 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

"Indeed, we don't mind if we are not involved in the project as long as the government or other companies are interested in realising the project," he added.
The plan for a high-speed train between the two cities, spanning about 300km, was proposed in the late 1990s.

The project was shelved in 2008 by the government due to the high cost of building it. This was based on the financial model that was submitted by YTL.

The proposed RM8 billion bullet train project is said to be able to cut travelling time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to 90 minutes compared with existing trains which takes about seven hours.

Yeoh said he is optimistic that the present government would reconsider the project's implementation and put it on the urgent list.

"China, Japan, the UK, Europe and Taiwan are among the places that have successfully implemented a high-speed train system. Malaysia should have it too in efforts to become a developed country," he said.

116,428 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
High-speed train offer from Siemens
Monday April 23, 2007

The Velaro i the culmination of Siemens' efforts to achieve
an average speed of 350kph for high-speed rail transport

YTL Corp Bhd managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh raised the buzz on high-speed rail service when he proposed the service to link Kuala Lumpur and Singapore last July.

Until now, no decision has been made as the Malaysian government is still studying the proposal.

However, Siemens is ready to share its expertise in high-speed rail technology if the project gets the approval.

Siemens Malaysia Sdn Bhd transportation systems head Tim Hunter said the company was likely to work with YTL Corp if the latter was awarded the project.

The Velaro E has a top speed of 350km an hour

YTL Corp had conducted a study, which found the project feasible.

“The Government is identifying the political, economic and environmental impact and all issues relating to the existing transportation network,” he told Malaysian reporters during an international media tour of the new Velaro E in Madrid, Spain, recently.

The Velaro E is the latest in the high-speed trains platform developed by Siemens.

Hunter said there was no deadline on when the Government would conclude the study but he anticipated “soon”.

The interior of the Club Class

“The topography of Peninsular Malaysia is appropriate for high-speed rail.

“As for challenges, it will be to cross the straits into Singapore and integration with existing rail system,” he said, adding that the route could possibly begin at KL Sentral station, linking the KL International Airport (KLIA), Johor Baru and end at Singapore's Changi Airport.

“That will make more sense because inter-modal exchanges are important. It has to be linked to existing transport modes.

“The service may probably link Malacca and Putrajaya, although nothing is confirmed yet,” he said.

The distance between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore City is 325km. If the Velaro E is used, which has a top speed of 350km/h; travel time will be reduced to 90 minutes.

The cockpit

Hunter said the train's proposed seating capacity was between 400 and 500 people on a single trip.

YTL Corp has previously drawn the expertise of Siemens to develop the Express Rail Link, which connects KL Sentral and KLIA.

Siemens has also managed the Ipoh-Rawang double-tracking electrification project, hence, it feels it could offer its latest technology should the high-speed rail project receive the green light.

Besides Siemens, other players that provide high-speed rail technology include France's Alstom, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Hitachi from Japan and Spain's Construccionesy Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles S. A.

Although Hunter did not reveal the project's actual cost, he said it would run into billions of ringgit as factors such as land acquisition, route, civil engineering and system costs, speed and density had to be considered.

According to published reports, the high-speed rail was expected to cost RM8bil.

“Land acquisition cost will be significant. Funding will be another main challenge and it is unsure at the moment who will bear the cost.

“Private finance initiative is one of the options. The project could be completed between two and five years, but that will depend on the engineering issues that may crop up,” he explained.

Hunter said an agreement between Malaysia and Singapore was highly important before the project could even proceed.

Siemens Velaro E at Innotrans 2006 in Berlin

Velaro RUS high speed trains by Russian Railways

Velaro CRH3 for the Beijing-Tianjin high-speed rail line

116,428 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
ya...Itu tunjuk peta semenanjung saja not concern with the HST route map!BTW walau bagaimana nak jadi tentang projek ni...keep update lah!

321 Posts
I think the project still not feasible because:

1. The gov wants to protect national airlines industry
2. MYR 8 Bil is such a huge investment, with the current economic condition the gov would not be able to accommodate anymore hugh account deficit.
3. The double electrified rail project from Gemas to JB will be initiated soon.
4. Talk about the ticket pricing, malaysians prefer economical solutions for traveling means naik bas lagi murah kot.

Maybe in about 10 years from now, there would be a call from gov to revive this project when airline industry has proven to be competitive, KTM project been fully optimized and ppl start having more money in their pocket.

This is purely from my own opinion.

116,428 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Fast track the S’pore bullet train project
Friday July 3, 2009

IT is reported that the YTL Corp still believes, as it has done since the late 1990s, that the high-speed bullet train linking Kuala Lumpur with Singapore is still a viable project.

Covering a distance of about 300km and costing about RM8bil, it will cut travel time from the present seven hours to about 90 minutes.

YTL considers its implementation important to further build and strengthen the country’s economy as it can also help attract foreign investors to the country.

Many developed countries such as China, Japan, the UK and those in Europe have successfully implemented the high-speed train system and Malaysia should have it due to its viability.

In another report, Datuk Ahmad Zaid of Johor has proposed the double-tracking KTM railway system to include the 197km stretch between Johor Baru and Gemas. It will cost RM7.5bil, which will include the building of overhead bridges.

This extension of the current Gemas-Seremban is being considered by the relevant authorities.

The YTL proposal is a privately funded project where the company is willing to take full financial risks due to its confidence in the viability of the project. The JB-Gemas project is to be financed by taxpayers and it could substantially reduce the travel problems of the Johor people.

However, in the absence of details, it is impossible to ascertain whether the JB-Gemas length of 197km costing RM7.5bil (RM37mil per km) is fair and reasonable compared with the KL-Singapore journey of 300km that is estimated to cost RM8bil (RM27mil per km).

What is certain is that both projects are viable and will complement each other as one is an express service while the other will mainly be a commuter service for those living along the route.

Both can be a stimulus for developing those undeveloped areas and generate commercial/industrial/housing opportunities. Employment opportunities will be created that will benefit the locals and state and federal revenues.

It may be noted that the first double-tracking project (Rawang-Seremban and Sentul-Port Kelang) was constructed in the mid-1980s covering 181km. The cost was less than RM3mil per km without any overhead bridges and functional station buildings.

The 180km Ipoh-Rawang link was estimated to cost RM40mil per km. The 1990 YTL proposals of the KL-Singapore link was estimated to cost RM5bil or RM17mil per km. Thus, delay has only raised the cost and hampered the development of surrounding areas and economic progress.

Now is the right time as the projects will definitely stimulate the economy and further the efforts of the Government. Delay can prove to be financially not beneficial.

However, the government-funded project should be based on competitive tenders and not negotiation. This will promote transparency and accountability while minimising opportunities for corruption and fraud.


Kuala Lumpur.


116,428 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
TRANSPORT LINKS: A good time for that rail project
By GURSHARAN SINGH, Kuala Lumpur 2009/07/03

IT was reported that YTL Corp still believes that a high-speed bullet train linking Kuala Lumpur to Singapore -- over a distance of 300km and costing RM8 billion -- is an economically viable project as it will cut travel time from the present seven hours to about 90 minutes ("YTL: KL-S'pore bullet train project economically viable" -- NST, July 1). Another report on the same day highlighted the proposed double tracking of the KTMB railway system from Johor Baru to Gemas (197km) at an estimated cost of RM7.5 billion. This is an extension of the Gemas-Seremban and Ipoh-Padang Besar double-tracking projects.

The KL-Singapore bullet train will be a privately-funded project where the private sector appears to be willing to take financial risks because of its confidence in the viability of the project. The Johor Baru-Gemas project is to be financed by taxpayers as it could substantially reduce the travel problems of Johor people.

However, in the absence of details, it is not possible to ascertain whether the Johor Baru-Gemas link of 197km costing RM7.5 billion (or RM37 million per km) is fair and reasonable compared with the KL-Singapore bullet train link estimated to cost RM8 billion (or RM27 million per km).

But what is certain is that both projects are viable and will complement each other, as one is an express service whereas the other will mainly be a commuter service for those living along the track.

Each project can be a stimulus for the development of undeveloped areas and generate other commercial and employment opportunities that will benefit the locals, as well as state and federal revenues.

It may be noted that the first double-tracking project (Ra- wang-Seremban and Sentul-Port Klang), constructed in the mid-1980s and covering a 181km, cost less than RM3 million per km without any overhead bridges and functional station buildings.

The 180km Ipoh-Rawang link has been estimated to cost RM40 million per km.

When YTL first proposed the KL-Singapore bullet train project a few years ago, it was estimated to cost RM5 billion (or RM17 million per km. Thus the delay has not only raised the cost of the projects but also delayed the development of the surrounding areas.

Now is the right time to go ahead with the project as it will definitely stimulate the economy. The delay could prove to be financially not beneficial.

A word of caution, though: the government-funded project should be based on competitive tenders and not negotiated. This will promote transparency and accountability while minimising the opportunities for corruption and fraud.


116,428 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Francis Yeoh not done hunting for bargains
July 03 2009

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — During the height of the equity markets, Francis Yeoh sat restlessly on the sidelines watching rivals bid up prices. When Singapore's Temasek decided to unload three of its power-generating firms last year, Yeoh, whose YTL Corp is one of Southeast Asia's biggest power companies, made offers he thought were fair. But he initially lost out, first in March 2008 to China Huaneng Group and then four months later to Japan's Marubeni.

It was a tough time for Yeoh. "You don't know what kind of pressure I had before," says the 55-year-old scion, as he sits in his penthouse office overlooking YTL's Ritz-Carlton in Kuala Lumpur. His father, billionaire Yeoh Tiong Lay, founded YTL as a construction firm in 1955, but Francis took over daily operations two decades ago, transforming it into a US$3.4 billion (market cap) multinational conglomerate. "When I had US$3.8 billion in cash, a lot of people, especially fund managers and analysts, criticised me," says Yeoh, "They said: 'We can't recommend your stock because you have so much cash and you don't know what to do with it.'"

But Yeoh, who is known for his flamboyant lifestyle, including his two helicopters, a private island and famous friends such as the late Luciano Pavarotti, is prudent in business. "I could not buy assets that were two or three times the market value," he says, despite the fact that hedge funds and private equity players were paying those prices.

Yeoh must have been one of the few businesspeople in the world who was relieved when the markets collapsed. He could finally go shopping: In October YTL paid US$180 million in cash to buy control of Macquarie Prime Real Estate Investment Trust and its holding company, paying 49 per cent of net asset value. Renamed Starhill Global REIT, it includes two shopping malls on Singapore's busy Orchard Road, Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City.

Then in late November Temasek shelved the auction of PowerSeraya, Singapore's second-largest power generator, because of unfavourable market conditions. Days later it privately called Yeoh to negotiate. Within a week subsidiary YTL Power agreed to pay US$2.4 billion in stock and debt, or 10 times Ebidta. When the sale was finalised in March, Yeoh, who converted to Christianity at age 16 and is deeply and overtly religious, issued a press release thanking "our Lord Jesus for blessing us with stewardship of this important asset."

Divine intervention not withstanding, the latest purchase strengthens YTL's standing as a leading power supplier. "This puts us in a very strategic position to win more power assets globally, especially with our large cash reserves," says Yeoh, who favours utilities because of the typically long-term concessions and steady profits. The conglomerate now gets 60 per cent of its US$2 billion sales from such assets.

The deals also illustrate Yeoh's tendency to preserve cash during boom times so he can spend during downturns. "YTL thrives in times when acquisition opportunities are aplenty at reasonable valuations," says Bernard Ching, associate director of ECM Libra Research. "We expect YTL to pounce on a few assets before this recession is over." One thing you won't probably see is a sale: an eager buyer at the right prices, YTL is a reluctant seller in any market.

Investors seem pleased. Net profit more than doubled in the third quarter ending March 31, following the consolidation of the results from the two acquisitions. The stock is down 7 per cent for the year — outperforming the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index, down 21 per cent — but it is up 27 per cent since September. Francis' father, who controls 53 per cent of YTL's shares, is again Malaysia's seventh richest, worth US$1.8 billion, despite dropping US$300 million in the past year.

Yeoh’s conservative approach is born of his family's early history. A dirt-poor Chinese immigrant, his father started a construction business at the age of 30, eventually building army barracks and other government quarters. But business almost collapsed during the 1970s oil crisis. Relatives and employees pawned jewellery to help keep the firm going.

Still, his father, who never went to college, collected enough money to send Francis, the oldest of his seven children, to study engineering at Kingston University in the UK. His hope was that his son, then 16, would come back and reinvigorate the business.

Yeoh returned four years later, in 1978, to work for the company. He was eventually joined by all six siblings, who now help run various businesses. Within a decade he was named managing director. One of his earliest ventures was developing a site on Pangkor island. Today its lavish Pangkor Laut Resort, which Yeoh's late wife helped design, is one of several luxurious resorts in the group's portfolio.

But Yeoh didn't get an engineering degree to only develop vacation spots, and he eventually moved the company into more technically complex sectors. YTL now employs 3,000 engineers, who help build factories, power plants, hotels, even a rail link, at competitive prices.

Yeoh's big break came in 1992, sparked by a Malaysia-wide blackout. Fed up, the government awarded YTL the first licence to operate a private power plant, breaking the monopoly held by the national utility. But foreign investors hesitated to fund the project and wanted risk premiums. So Yeoh arranged for the first-ever 15-year bond issued in ringgit, sharply reducing its foreign-currency exposure. He later persuaded the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange to allow its subsidiary, YTL Power, to go public as an infrastructure project company, fast-tracking the offering by five years, well before the project was complete.

These moves proved fortuitous during the 1997 Asia crisis when the ringgit's value plunged by more than a third against the dollar. During that time YTL was able to pay down some debts, get more favourable rates and pick up bargains including prime properties in Kuala Lumpur. It paid US$130 million in 1999 to buy two shopping malls, Starhill and Lot 10, and the JW Marriott from struggling outfit Taiping Consolidated. The Starhill mall, now called Starhill Gallery, co-sponsored a luxury watch gala with Forbes last December. (The Forbes family played no role in initiating or compiling this story.) In 2000 YTL Power bought a 33.5 per cent stake in ElectraNet, which operates the power transmission grid for the state of South Australia under a 200-year concession.

When Enron collapsed and sold off its assets, including Wessex Water plant in the UK, YTL surprised rivals by beating out a consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland for the plant in 2002. The US$1.3 billion deal brought Yeoh international exposure and controversy. After the deal was done, Wessex's chief executive was arrested for alleged improper payments from YTL; he was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing. No one from YTL was ever charged. The business, says Yeoh, is now worth US$3.5 billion.

Yeoh has had setbacks. For years he tried to get approval from the Malaysian government to build a fast train connecting Singapore and Malaysia, but the project was shelved in April 2008, apparently stalled by politics. Now Yeoh seems to be trying again, with Siemens Malaysia as a partner. He won't say much. "The more I talk about it, the more the project will never come alive," he worries. Still he argues that people didn't believe in his high-speed rail between Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the city centre, which carries 4.5 million people a year. "I pray that this project will come in my lifetime. Even if it is not done by me, I want to see it happen between the two countries."

YTL also had the misfortune of partnering with now defunct Lehman Brothers to develop a resort in Thailand's Koh Samui. But it was a small deal, and YTL is negotiating to acquire the whole lot.

With YTL still sitting on US$2.8 billion in cash, more deals are likely. Yeoh says he is looking into a water business in China and plans to spend up to US$700 million to build Malaysia's first 4g network. EMC Libra analyst Ching thinks the UK is a "good hunting ground" for the conglomerate, in view of the weaker pound.

No doubt Yeoh will try not to overpay. Says he: "I just can't play that game." — Forbes


44,615 Posts
Serve other areas, YTL
By : T.E.T., Batu Caves

WITH the revival of talk about a high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, I hope YTL Corporation Berhad can consider serving areas that are different from those KTM Komuter serves.

From Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), the high-speed rail can proceed to Port Dickson, Malacca, Muar and Batu Pahat before reaching Johor Baru and Singapore.

Although this alignment may cost more in land acquisition than running it along the North-South Expressway, it serves better to tap into markets currently not directly served by the railway.

The aforementioned towns are all future growth centres and the possibility of a higher ridership means the investment can be recouped much earlier.

By routing the train through the main population centres, we can more effectively move people from where they are to where they want to go.

116,428 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Think about 'flying on land'
NST Online » Letters 2009/07/08
By : MOHD PETER DAVIS, Bandar Baru Bangi

I AGREE with Gursharan Singh's article ("A good time for that rail project" -- NST, July 3) that now is the best time to upgrade Malaysia's railway system.
In 1957, the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore express train service took seven hours 35 minutes; today it takes seven hours. The journey by car or express bus can be completed in four hours without traffic jams.

However, traffic jams are a way of life in the Klang Valley and other major urban areas. It is twice as fast for my daughter and her fellow students to walk the few kilometres from their apartments to their colleges in Subang Jaya, but this is not so easily done without a dedicated pedestrian path.

My independent research reveals a road death rate per million population that is three to four times higher in Malaysia than in Australia, Japan or Britain. The heavy reliance on motorcycles in Malaysia must be the main reason for this. Worldwide, motorcycles are inherently unsafe, with a death toll of 117 per billion kilometres travelled compared with 12 for cars and only one for planes and trains. Roads worldwide have been transformed into death-traps. With 30 million road deaths in the 20th century, the transition to fast and safe public transport, affordable for the entire population, is long, long overdue.

The short distances between urban centres in peninsular Malaysia makes high speed intercity trains a far better choice than planes, especially with airports a long way away from city centres.

Scientists and engineers internationally have done their job. Suitable public transport technology is available and lacks only the political will to implement.

Japan's bullet trains travelling at 210kph have been operating successfully and profitably for 45 years. This is the fast rail system proposed for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route by the YTL group. However, the much better Maglev technology, capable of 480kph has been sitting on the shelf for decades. Only China has taken the plunge with this German technology. For the past five years commercial Maglev trains have been amazing travellers with the four-minute trip from Shanghai airport to the city centre. China is extending the Maglev line to Hagzhou City, which by next year is scheduled to cut the 175km journey to 30 minutes. Japan has announced it will replace its bullet trains with Maglev trains travelling more than twice the speed.

Clearly, Malaysia should not be the last country to use the 1960s bullet-train technology, but should instead leapfrog to a Maglev railway network covering the whole peninsula.

I think the Maglev system most suitable for Malaysia is the American Maglev 2000. The modular concrete Maglev track, elevated above existing railway lines and alongside highways, can move both the intercity Maglev passenger trains at 480kph and the larger Maglev container trains at 300kph. This gets several cars and trucks off the roads. (Maglev photos and diagrams can be viewed on my website,

Travel time for passengers from Kuala Lumpur to Seremban will be reduced to 12 minutes, 60 minutes to JB or Butterworth, KL to Kuantan will take 40 minutes, Kuala Terengganu 70 minutes and Kota Baru 100 minutes. Suburban feeder Maglev trains will quickly get people close to their workplace.

This will be a grand project, but it is no more difficult or expensive than building highways. Given cheap electricity that only nuclear power plants can supply, the low operating costs will make travelling by Maglev "flying on land" affordable for all Malaysians, children included.

A Malaysian Maglev railway network, achievable within 10 years, must therefore be seen as an essential component, along with nuclear energy, of a high-tech Vision 2020.

3,099 Posts
Warning signals for Taiwan’s bullet train

By Robin Kwong in Taipei

Published: July 18 2009 01:42 | Last updated: July 18 2009 01:42

The opening of Taiwan’s high-speed rail system two years ago was a transformative moment for Thomas Tsai, president of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee.

Mr Tsai, who often had to travel the length of Taiwan to the southern city of Kaohsiung where the national teams’ training grounds are located, recalled having to check in at the domestic airport in Taipei at least once a week to make the trip.

“Now, I just take the high-speed rail and I arrive in less than two hours,” says Mr Tsai.

The bullet train, which opened two years ago, not only linked Taiwan’s more cosmopolitan north with its industrial south. It was also one of the world’s grandest experiments in tapping private funding for an infrastructure project.

High-speed rail was Taiwan’s first non-government funded infrastructure project and its T$489bn ($14.8bn) construction cost made it the world’s biggest build-operate-transfer project.

But with the privately owned High Speed Rail Company facing debt trouble after accumulating T$67.5bn in losses, there is mounting concern that the experiment in public-private partnership is proving a failure and taxpayers will in the end still have to bear the cost of building and running one of the world’s most advanced train systems.

The bullet train’s financial failure would also be a stark warning to other countries planning their own high-speed rail system, such as Vietnam and Malaysia.

Taiwan’s government last week pledged to support the High Speed Rail Company in securing refinancing at lower interest rates for some of its T$390bn debt.

While officials have not indicated any plans for further involvement in the publicly listed operator, bankers familiar with the situation and observers say that more government support is almost inevitable.

“If the high-speed rail cannot get refinancing, then it becomes just a matter of the government paying the cost later rather than earlier,” Liang Kuo-yuan, the president of the Polaris Research Institute, said.

Wu Fu-hsiang, former director of the High Speed Rail bureau, who oversaw the project through the 16 years it took to conceive, design and build, said that the original plan estimated the break-even point to be T$3bn in monthly sales. “But it made only T$2.5bn in its best month,” he said.

A large part of the problem is not enough passengers. The bullet trains are less than half full on average despite having lured away many would-be air travellers, such as the Olympic committee’s Mr Tsai.

The number of passengers flying the Taipei-Kaohsiung route fell from 2.6m in 2006, the year before High Speed Rail opened, to 341,972 last year, but the number of High Speed Rail passengers has stagnated at below 2.8m per month after impressive growth in the first year.

Mr Wu, now a professor at Chung Hua University , said that planners did not anticipate the exodus of Taiwanese businessmen who left to seek their fortunes in mainland China. “They would have taken the high-speed rail [had they been in Taiwan],” he said.

The original plan also called for a flourishing of new towns in the area surrounding the out-of-town stations, which would allow the High Speed Rail Company to profit from developing the 32 hectares of land it was granted near five stations. That has not been the case.

Half-constructed luxury apartments and empty lots litter the area around Hsinchu station outside Taipei.

Yao Schueh-chieh, a real estate agent there, said that only half of the units in the area have been sold despite the location’s being near the heart of Taiwan’s high-technology export industries. “Business is not very good,” he said.

Despite its recent troubles, Mr Wu is convinced that using the build-operate-transfer model – a first for Taiwan at the time – was the correct decision.

Given the government's lack of efficiency, he said, “if this was a purely public project even by today we still wouldn’t have the first train service ready”.

116,428 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
KL-S'pore high-speed rail will generate economic benefits
Monday July 20, 2009
Hock's Viewpoint - By Choong Khuat Hock

A KL-Singapore high-speed rail would generate more economic benefits than the double-tracking railway from Ipoh to Thailand

WITH negative export growth and private consumption, fiscal stimulus is playing a more important role. In Japan, building bridges to nowhere has not generated long-term economic benefits but has instead burdened future generations.

In Malaysia, building a double-tracking railway from Ipoh to the Thai border for RM12bil can never generate as much economic benefits as a high-speed rail (HSR) from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore for around the same price tag. (Please vote or express your views on the blog

Malaysia appears to be far behind in HSR development. China has completed six high-speed rail projects with design speeds of up to 250km/h and in July 2008, it completed the 108km Beijing to Tianjin HSR with a design speed of 350km/h.

This would be equivalent to travelling from KL to the Malacca border in 30 minutes. The 1,302km Beijing to Shanghai HSR will be ready next year.

China’s HSR network of 6,000km by 2013 will exceed Japan’s current HSR network of 2,459km. France, with an HSR network of 1,700km, has the most extensive HSR network among European countries followed by Britain (1,400km), Germany (1,290km) and Spain (1,272km).

Even the United States is jumping on the HSR bandwagon with Obama unveiling plans for 10 potential high-speed intercity corridors.

Other Asian countries that have successfully built HSR include South Korea and Taiwan. Interestingly, the 335.5km Taiwan HSR from Taipei to Kaohsiung (taking 90 minutes) is approximately similar in distance from KL to Singapore. I was able to buy tickets and board the train 10 mins before departure.

The train ride was very smooth and the speedometer on the train showed train speeds of close to 300km/h. As in Taiwan, the HSR in Malaysia could have direct services from KL to Singapore and also services that cover KL International Airport (KLIA), Malacca and Johor. Malacca’s tourist potential will be enhanced while Iskandar Malaysia’s viability will be improved.

The positive economic impact from the HSR from KL to Singapore would be tremendous. It would anchor KLIA-LCCT-Changi as the top airline hub in South-East Asia where foreign and domestic passengers will have a choice of full service or budget airlines.

The HSR may attract additional visitors to the KL-Singapore hub due to the clustering effect. Furthermore, it would boost the number of Singaporean and foreign visitors (from Singapore) visiting Johor, Malacca and Kuala Lumpur.

Airline frequency between KL and Singapore may decline but airlines could generate additional traffic from the cementing of KL-Singapore as the premier transportation hub of the region. Property prices in Kuala Lumpur should also benefit from greater demand from Singaporeans and foreigners who are attracted by the improved accessibility of KL.

With better accessibility, foreign companies may be attracted to place their operations in KL or Iskandar where operating costs are lower. The better accessibility would also make it easier to attract talent to work in KL or Iskandar.

The high-speed Eurostar train link from London to Paris in just 2.5 hours has helped narrow the discount of Parisian property prices to London property prices.

The differential between KL and Singapore property prices remains large with high-end condos in Malaysia going for around RM1,000 per sq ft while high-end Singapore condos are at least five times more expensive at over S$2,000 per sq ft.

Based on an estimated built-up area of 1.8 billion sq ft in the Klang Valley, property values could be boosted by a massive RM180bil if property values rise by RM100 per sq ft and the gain could rise to RM360bil if property prices appreciate by RM200 per sq ft. The positive wealth effect is an important ingredient for better consumer confidence.

Asian giants like China and India are increasingly dominating the economic field, hence, there is a greater urgency for Malaysia and Singapore to work together to carve out a niche (while it still exists) as the indisputable destination for investments, tourism, services and selected manufacturing in the Asean region.

Since the energy consumption per person using a train is less than those for cars and planes, the HSR will lead to lower carbon dioxide production, which contributes towards global warming. The KL-Singapore HSR will reduce the number of cars and planes plying between KL and Singapore and reduce road accidents.

Should the Malaysia and Singapore governments decide to carry on with the HSR, it is important for the project to be implemented by a group that can build the HSR within the stipulated cost and as quickly as possible.

We cannot afford another Port Klang Free Zone where massive cost overruns and accusations of misdemeanors in a privatised project have burdened taxpayers without any tangible economic benefits.

The Taiwan HSL was plagued with delays and severe cost overruns. The final cost at a staggering US$15bil (RM55bil) equates to a cost of US$45mil per km compared to US$27mil per km in South Korea and only US$12mil for the express rail link to KLIA which was built by a YTL-led consortium.

As a Malaysian consumer, I am very keen on being given the choice to travel on HSR to Singapore even if it costs more than the bus fare. As a taxpayer, I am keen on taxpayers’ money being spent on infrastructure projects that generate economic returns.

Economically-viable private sector-funded investments should be encouraged at a time when government finances are tight. As a property owner in KL, I am keen to see better property prices and KL becoming a vibrant international city with excellent connectivity. What do you think?

● Choong Khuat Hock is head of research at Kumpulan Sentiasa Cemerlang Sdn Bhd. Readers’ feedback is welcome. Please email to [email protected]

561 Posts
it is economic feasable once completed (i expect it will be finish in 2020 if the project groundbreaks in 2010), but become the major competitor against the malaysia airlines, firefly, air asia, and express bus companies because HSR is much more convenient compared with air travel and express bus service in terms of:

1. transit location:
HSR station in KL may be setted in KL Sentral, within the downtown core of Kuala Lumpur, HSR station in Singapore may be setted be around in Marina Bay, still within the downtown core of Singapore. Compared with air travel, take firefly planes from KL to Singapore, planes will be landed in subang airport, which is currently lacking public transport facility, and if, even there is a station called Sri Subang built on it, it still takes about 30 - 45 minutes to travel from KL downtown to Subang Airport, same case in Singapore, from Singapore downtown to Changi Airport.

Still express bus service transit location is much more strategic compared with HSR, in Puduraya currently, in the heart of downtown. Maybe it will not as convenient as HSR once the express bus hub for southern route moved to Bandar Tasik Selatan.

2. fare cost:
It is still cheaper compared to malaysia airlines, but i'm not sure will it become cheaper than air tickets of firefly and air asia.

It won't be as cheap as express bus, but i'm sure, the tickets you buy from HSR ticket booth is sure genuine. Puduraya got quite lot of fake ticket dealers and security matters in Puduraya is still much more worse than KL Sentral.

3. serving areas:
It doesn't only serve KL and Singapore, but also maybe:
Malacca (station set in Tampin, interchange with local train service between Melaka Sentral and Seremban or Tampin)
Johor Bahru

serving this three areas benefit lots of KL-ites, Serembanese, Malaccans and JB-ites. the express bus service between these cities are frequent and in high capacity, with daily traffic more than 1000.

during holidays, many singaporeans travel to malacca, what i'm concern is not is YTL will gain profit from HSR or not, is malacca able to handle such people inflow to malacca downtown and heritage site. once the HSR is ready, malacca must have extensive intergrated public transport network, convenient for both tourist and local commuters.

so, i think, EPU drops this project with these reasons:
1. HSR will become a major competitor against air travel between these cities, since the most profitable line of malaysia airlines is the KL - Singapore route.
2. HSR will become a major competitor against express bus between these cities, this will harm the profit of Transnasional, or Nice, or what else... and those companies may have some relations with the officials.

and still when you all are still worry it may be a competitor against KTMB, i would say no. because both company operate rail for different propose. YTL's HSR is for only passenger, KTMB operates for both freight and passenger. KTMB may compromise with YTL, which YTL operates limited express service, and KTMB operates the local and local express service, it just like Shinkansen and Local lines in Japan, both operates together, both are profitable, just from different senses.

last time i heard there is a HSR project from KL to Kuantan. got people propose it to extend to Kuala Terengganu. it is totally not feasable, a double track electrified meter gauge KTMB rail is far more enough, instead.
1 - 20 of 6676 Posts
Not open for further replies.