TRANSIT has learned over a disturbing news over the grapevine today, where an unnamed source from PEMANDU has leaked a meeting note from the recent ETP implementation meeting that the High Speed Rail plan to connect Singapore and downtown Kuala Lumpur has been scrapped for a new 1Malaysia High Speed Bus Plan (1HSB)!
The source said that the MRT project has been identified as risky enough to burst a big hole in the government’s pocket, and thus the High Speed Bus system is the only way the present administration can fulfill its GTP and ETP agenda on increasing commuting convenience between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, without jeopardizing the nation’s long term budget. PEMANDU, the source said, was advised by its appointed consultant to position to the media the dramatic transit technological downgrade as a prudent ‘transformative’ plan for a fast-moving Malaysia.
The chief of PEMANDU, who was earlier taken aback by the initial presentation by the 1HSB recommendation panel that jumped him straight from the driver’s seat into the passenger’s seat, was reported to shrug off any flak it might receive due to the earlier excitement over maglev and other eye-popping high speed rail technologies. A joint committee member from the Board of the nation’s High Speed Broadband provider was told to lobby the panel on the ‘HSB’ naming and ‘blue-hippo’ look, which can be seen by market observers as a timely measure to prop up the provider’s ‘snail-paced’ image.
The same source said that Najib was reported to be unhappy with the news, until the chief of PEMANDU briefed him on similar implementation by the government of the United States as a fool-proof measure to cut its ballooning deficit. President Obama’s proposed high–speed train system will be replaced with a fleet of buses that will rocket along highways at speeds up to 165 mph (please refer to the following news clip below from a news source Americans voted to be the most trusted).
The source also said staff from KTB together with a representative from Hasbro Toy of Japan had to be dispatched to assure the First Lady that the positioning of buses rather than trains, appeal to younger voters (with the 1HSB’s proposed ‘OptiBus Prime’ paired with ‘Government Transportmation Program‘ ads) as much as the working class (who are more likely to endorse the premier over his repetitious utterances of the “Transformation” phrase as shown in the latest Merdeka Poll).
Some members within the closely-knit PEMANDU team have privately expressed their horror over learning that the gargantuan MRT project will take 500 years to be paid off (which can be cut in half if the 1HSB revenue is channeled to MRT) based on its appointed consultant’s modelling variables on capital expenditure breakeven projection based on the present LRT and monorail systems’ sole revenues of puny fare box rate and aggressive bombardments of advertising materials. The model also predicts that by 2027, it is estimated that the prices of the mega-land-sprawl in Greater Kuala Lumpur will be so unreachable even to expats, and its atmosphere clouded with thick smog and smoke that the citizens of Kuala Lumpur will find it cheaper and healthier to either live on trees on the Titiwangsa mountain range, or work in KL and live in Singapore, where low child-birth and high suicide rates should have cut the city-state population by half.
More images after the jump.
The Chairman of Kenderaan Transnasional Berhad (KTB) is believed to be the high profile individual behind the push for the High Speed Bus, since proposals for buses to be the most frequented commuting mode for both urban and intercity travel have mostly fallen into deaf ears in the past few years (remember how KTB lobbied hard champion its expertise in managing the biggest bus consortium in Malaysia in its bid to take over bus operations from Park May and Intrakota, before the sole appointment of RapidKL and purchase of China-made Scomi buses).
TRANSIT Says: When urban rapid transit is perfectly A-OK to be served by buses (through BRT technology and infrastructural accommodation), the government chooses to opt for the terribly expensive MRT. When intercity high speed transit is typically served by rail technology, the government chooses to opt for dirt cheap express buses!
We know that such project has been revived by the Obama administration after acknowledging the huge budget deficit that would result if high speed rail project is instead given the green light. We wonder whether there are still rooms available for expansion of the North South Expressway, and how MIROS will react towards this proposal.
Wink. Happy April 1 !!!