Malaysia

KL to get landmark MRT in world-class city bid

By Lee Wei Lian
June 10, 2010

A general view of the Long Ping MTR station in Hong Kong. — Picture by Baycrest/Wikimedia CommonsA general view of the Long Ping MTR station in Hong Kong. — Picture by Baycrest/Wikimedia Commons

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — A new mass rapid transit system will be implemented as part of efforts to make Kuala Lumpur a world class city under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP).

The new MRT system will be about 156km long, covering a radius of 20km from the city centre and have a capacity of 2 million passengers per day.

The new MRT system will be supported by a network of feeder buses and covered walkways to provide end-to-end connectivity to commuters and pedestrians.

Planned extensions to the existing LRT system will still proceed as planned.

The Malaysian Insider had reported earlier this week that MMC Corporation Bhd and Gamuda Bhd have submitted a bid to construct the new mass rapid transit (MRT) system, with a price tag of at least RM35 billion.

The capital city currently has an LRT system, a monorail system and the KTM Komuter inter-city service — a combination that has been criticised for being poorly integrated and having a low capacity.

With the new MRT system, it is expected that Kuala Lumpur will finally be able to join the ranks of cities with world-class metro systems such as Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Barcelona.

The 10MP will position Kuala Lumpur as a top city that will become one of the key engines of growth for the country, as it recognises that competition has become increasingly about cities rather than just nations. The city has been identified as one of 12 national key economic areas that will contribute quantifiably to economic growth.

The 10MP acknowledges that there is a strong link between quality of life of a city and its economic output, and noted that Kuala Lumpur is ranked 79th out of 140 cities in the Economist Intelligence Unit Survey on liveability.

Initiatives planned for Kuala Lumpur include the establishment of a new financial district as a global financial centre; creating a network of attractive open public spaces; and making the KL Lake Gardens a world class botanical garden.

Also slated for the city is the development of a unique and internationally-relevant arts and culture scene, and a rich mix of leisure activities to make it an ideal place to live, work and play.

While Kuala Lumpur has eight times the GDP of the next biggest population cluster in Malaysia, it still has a lower economic output per square kilometre compared with other Asian cities.

An analysis by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Price Waterhouse Coopers used by the 10MP shows that Kuala Lumpur also lags far behind leading cities such as Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo and Sydney in terms of both its liveability and GDP per capita, and is grouped together with cities such as Mexico City, Sao Paolo and Shangai.