KL – Kuantan High Speed Railroad to begin in May 2010? No way, says TRANSIT (Update#1)

Updated with additional comments!

TRANSIT took note of this article on the online portal of the Nanyang Siang Pau newspaper, regarding the proposed KL-Kuantan High Speed Rail link.

Let’s just be frank. Despite what you will read below and despite what you may have heard, the KL-Kuantan High Speed Rail Link is not happening anytime soon.

And the media and the Pahang State Government should be very careful about letting themselves be fooled.

TRANSIT has commented on the English translation of the article, in the space below. Clicking on the link will take you to the original version in Chinese.

Traveling time 45 minutes. Site to be based in Pekan. KL – Kuantan high speed railroad to start in May

KUANTAN: The Pahang state government has given the green light, the 350km/h high speed railroad project is expected to kick off this May, the construction site will be stationed in Royal town of Tanjung Agas in Pekan, the whole project is estimated to complete in 3 to 5 years.

[TRANSIT: A KL-Kuantan rail link would have to find a way over, around and through the massive Titiwangsa range – can it be built in 3-5 years???]

President of MRails International Dato Jayakumar confidently told to the press: “Once after this RM1,000,000,000 project started, this will bring explosive dominoes effect to the economic development of our country.

[TRANSIT: Do you note the obvious error? The 35 km of LRT extension proposed by Prasarana is estimated to cost RM7billion. The Rawang-Ipoh double tracking & electrification project cost RM1.1 billion. How can a high-speed rail link between KL and Kuantan be built for only RM1billion???]

“Nanyang Siang Pau” exclusive report of this issue the other day said that the MRails International Co. joint venture with Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co. of China to carry on three Maglev and high speed railroad projects amounting RM1,000,000,000 in our country, these projects included Penang – Butterworth (Maglev train), as well as two projects of Kuala Lumpur – Kuantan and the Kuala Lumpur – Johore Bahru high-speed railroad project.

[TRANSIT: Now they are talking about 3 projects valued at RM1billion]

Components are sourced locally

[TRANSIT: Yeah, right. We have the technology to build Magnetic Levitation Rail in Malaysia?]

Pahang state menteri besar Dato Seri Adnan Yakob has agreed the Kuala Lumpur – Kuantan high speed railroad project in a briefing session. By using a piece of 100 ekar [acre] land in Tanjung Agas as the equipment assembling site for these 3 projects, components required for the Maglev and high speed railroad will be supplied and assembled by local company.

He and Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co. management inspected the Tanjung Agas site on Wednesday, this followed by a meeting session with Adnan Yakob in Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kuantan and an interview with “Nanyang Siang Pau” reporter.

The MRails International Co. will submit a proposal regarding Kuala Lumpur – Kuantan high speed railroad project to Adnan Yakob in a short time.

[TRANSIT: Actually, the Department of Railways is not happy with this project]

He declared that his company had met former premier Tun Mahatir and PM, Dato Sri Najib about the Maglev and high speed railroad project, after obtaining blessing from the latter, he and the Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co. management then visited Adnan Yakob on Wednesday.

The Pahang state government assured giving full coordination

Jayakumar said that the state government had assured to give full coordination in the transportation aspect. Once the high speed railroad project is completed, traveling time between Kuala Lumpur and Kuantan is expected to take only 45 minutes.

The Chinese government thought that Malaysia is suitable to construct the high-speed railroad

[TRANSIT: Can you believe this? Malaysia is a relatively bumpy country with kilometer after kilometer of highlands – most of the flat land is in the flood plains of rivers like the Klang River, Selangor River, Kedah river, etc. We cannot afford the infrastructure costs of building high speed rail]

Jayakumar said again that the Chinese government believed that Malaysia is an ideal country to be a center of Maglev and high speed train.

He said instead providing 100% financing, Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co. will supply the world class railroad technology, but the human resources aspect will be operated and the managed by the MRails International Co.

“Maglev and the high-speed train is a high quality, the high tech transportation, they are believed to be able to relieve Malaysian’s transportation problem”


Don’t believe everything you read. There have already been rumbles about this Jayakumar and his efforts to ‘sell’ rail technology investment to the government of Malaysia – focusing on convincing the state governments first.

Despite all the talk, the project never gets further than state government approval because it is found that:

a) it is really not possible with the resources the state government has
b) the state government representatives know that it is not possible but keep it quiet to avoid embarassment
c) it is actually a scam to make money for various people.

The proper procedure to build a railway in Malaysia is outlined in the Railways Act, 1991, which says that a proper feasibility study & railways scheme must be presented to the Director General of the Department of Railways for conditional approval.

Then the project must go to public display for a period of 3 months. This public display must include maps of the route, land books for the people affected, and a place where people can register their feedback.

Has anyone heard about a public display on the KL-Kuantan High Speed Rail?

That’s because there hasn’t been one. So all this talk about starting construction is May is pointless.

Be well aware – someone is cheating someone.

To those in the media, you are warned…be careful. In your efforts to get the ‘big story’ you may fall prey unwittingly to scam artists and people who will take advantage of your thirst to present ‘news’ before your competition.

Do your research, do background checks, ask for a 2nd, 3rd 4th opinion if necessary.

Do not take the word of these salesmen or agents without a very large grain of taman negara rock salt.

If there is any confusion about the Maglev railway, perhaps these comments from the Minister of Transport will help clear things up:

Bullet train ‘mission impossible’

SEBERANG PERAI (Jan 4, 2010): Any attempt to install a magnetic levitation (maglev) rail system that can accommodate bullet trains in Malaysia has been brushed aside as “mission impossible”.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said Malaysia had neither the population catchment nor the infrastructure to allow the high costs involved in building such a system to be fully recovered.

Again…you were warned.

Now…can someone suggest a way for Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to extract himself from the ‘opportunity’ that his government has given to MRails Intl.???

6 replies on “KL – Kuantan High Speed Railroad to begin in May 2010? No way, says TRANSIT (Update#1)”

There is an ancient Chinese proverb says, “the sound of thunder is roaring loud, but the drops of rain are scarce and almost none”. Got the meaning? Maybe if I translate to Malay it will sound more familiar. Cakap pandai, tapi habuk pun tak nampak. So I’m not surprised AT ALL if the Melaka tram cannot be materialised at all.

This is not about the project is legal or illegal. The most important thing is the project able to commercially feasible and profitable. Or else by the end of the day the government has to use tonnes of taxpayers’ money to support the service in order not to “lose face” and by the end of the day the service will end up shitty like STAR LRT and bus services in Kuala Lumpur. It is more commercially more feasible and profitable to build a high speed train from Alor Setar via BUtterworth, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Melaka or Muar to Johor Bahru. So that the authority can always keep the service up to global standard with the sufficient earning for the fund. Put it in simple terms, the supply and demand for Kuala Lumpur – Kuantan high speed train is not enough to support the high speed train service unless we are a very very populated nation like Thailand or Phillipines.

There is a feasible route already proposed for this from 1931. It runs from 10 kilometres south of KL, then using the Hulu and Lui River valleys climbs to Ginting Peras. From there, it can run to Triang on the East Coast railway, and on to Kuantan.

Its electioneering, and it lies in the realms of fantasy however.

Hi @Diarmuid

Thanks for your comments. We are familiar with the proposed route but would love to see it on a map if you have a soft copy of the resource.

As for the project being “electioneering” we believe that it was not, since the project was not announced by anyone in government and one of the companies (MRails) associated with the project has a long history of making announcements for projects that never amount to any projects getting started.

If you want to see electioneering, take a look at the government’s ETP especially the MRT and High Speed Rail proposals.

Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

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