MRT defies critics and steamrolls ahead
Stop any person in the street and ask them to choose an odd number between 1 and 10. More often not, they will say the number 7.
For ‘lucky 7’ is the world’s favourite number. There are seven days of the week, seven colours of the rainbow, seven notes on a musical scale, seven seas and seven continents.
Hence I wasn’t surprised when PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak picked 17.7.17 to launch the second phase of the Klang Valley’s Mass Rapid Transit 1 project.
Today is indeed a special and historic day for all Malaysians.
Today is the turning point for Malaysia’s public transportation.
The RM21billion 51-kilometre Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line covering 31 stations was opened to the public via 2 simultaneous launch ceremonies.
One at the underground Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) station and the Kajang station this morning.
The dawn of a new day indeed for more than half a million passengers daily.
Costly But Needed Fix
A sure but costly fix to address the frustrations of traffic jam problems and car transport costs which make up 10% of all monthly household expenses.
The high investment has been a subject of controversy by the oppostion since, with claims that the total bill for the MRT project amounted to RM100 billion.
The government says the implications of not doing the project was greater.
Long term costs include damage to the environment from petrol-burning cars and health costs arising from increased stress levels while stuck in traffic jams.
The investments in improved public transportation will put money back in the pockets of Malaysians, from time savings and reduced transport and car ownership costs.
It will also reap bigger savings from the reduced environmental and health-care costs.
More Transport Projects Under “Projek Infra Rakyat”
It looks like no amount of criticism will deter PM Najib from pledging more transport projects.
Other people-centric projects are being considered, including the MRT3 or the Circle Line.
Najib said there was no reason why further MRT lines beyond MRT 3 should not be looked at.
“Kuala Lumpur and the Klang valley, as well as other urban areas will continue to grow and the need for modern, efficient and sustainable modes of transportation will follow.
“In view of this, studies and planning for new MRT lines should be done now so that we are not too late in meeting this need,” he added.
Goodies & Discounts For Commuters
The MRT will integrate with existing and future rail-based networks to form the backbone of the Klang Valley’s public transportation system.
Normal revenue service between Sungai Buloh and Kajang will start operating on July 18, while the paid-to-paid linkways at the three interchange stations will also open.
This allows commuters to switch between the MRT and LRT services without exiting the gates and purchasing new tickets.
Najib also announced surprise goodies for passengers boarding trains between Kajang station and Muzium Negara stations, as they will be able to enjoy free rides from 4pm onwards today until midnight.
Fares will also be discounted at 50 per cent beginning tomorrow until Aug 31 for all MRT, LRT, monorail and commuter line passengers.
Pictures Courtesy : NajibRazak Facebook & The Star Online
READ MORE : What you didn’t know about the MRT SBK line
By Anne Edwards
(Writer was the Head of Production, News, Current Affairs & Programs at Bernama TV from 2009 – 2012. Prior to that in 2008, she joined Bernama TV as Executive Producer, Host & Anchor)