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Komuter Update: are we on track to better days ahead?

TRANSIT took note of this series of articles on an announcement from KTMB President Dr. Aminuddin Adnan, stating that KTM Komuter service was turning the corner and passengers could look forward to better days ahead.

Komuter trains at the Sentul Depot. Image courtesy of The Star.


The basic facts are pretty simple: KTM Komuter started with 64 trainsets and at one time operated as few as 21 or 22 trainsets. By mid 2007, the fleet had declined by 2/3 but Komuter is carrying more than 3x the original passenger load. The reasons for this included gross underinvestment from the Finance Ministry (part of an attempt to hobble KTMB and eventually privatize it), as well as issues with management, employee relations, and corruption. There were also problems with maintenance and even worse, the ongoing issues with parts supply – since two of the original manufacturers of KTM Komuter EMUs are no longer in the business.

KTMB is in a better situation now than it was in the past. It can now operate as many as 31 trainsets – not even half of the original fleet. Things are not going to get much better for the original fleet – as parts run out, Komuter trains are taking on heavier passenger loads and are not able to keep up.

Fortunately, the 38 units of 6-carriage trains will collectively represent an increase over the original fleet. Think of each 6-carriage train as being equivalent to 2 original 3-carriage trains so 38 x 2 = 74 original train equivalents – as opposed to 64 original trains. Added to the “current” (should we say remaining – or maybe “surviving” instead?) fleet of 31 trains, that would give a fleet of 95 original train equivalents (3-carriage EMUs) in a mixed fleet of 69-70 trains.

The first test train of the new fleet is expected to arrive in early November 2011 and should be in revenue service by the end of January 2012.

We will leave you to read the articles for the details.

But before that, can we express our frustration with the headline for the second article. KTM Komuter is not experiencing ‘teething’ problems. The phrase refers to challenges that an individual (or company or organization) faces when learning or adapting to a new task – just as an infant faces pain and soreness as the teeth first erupt from the gums.

KTM has been around for 125 years – and Komuter more than 15. The problems KTM and KTM Komuter are facing are not teething problems and should not be referred to as such.

18 replies on “Komuter Update: are we on track to better days ahead?”

by Nov 2011 or Jan 2012, newer “teething problems” will be used as an excuse for ever more deteriorating service of KTM Komuter. when I take PT to MVMM, i don’t even consider Komuter. I rather take the LRT/bus option.

Yup, I tried KTM Komuter train in last week from Sentul until midvalley in the morning (around 10:30am), I waited around 35 to 40 minutes for the next train, HALLELUJAH!!!

@ jerping. What is PT & MVMM?

@ Jeffrey. This is the typical scenario for KTMB interval times. My case, is even worst. Last 4 mths, I wait for nearly 1 hr for a train, from KL Sentral to Rawang during weekdays on non-peak hrs. When I purchased ticket at 11:00am, I asked when is the next train and the cashier told me “11:20am”. I pusing2 for 10mins before I went down to the platform. There are only 3 people at that time. After 15 mins waiting (lucky I got a newspaper w me), I wonder why train still not appear. Now there are more than 10 people waiting. I go up and check with a KTMB staffs and they just give some silly excuses about potentially train problem.. I go down & wait another 10mins. Go up again, request to go out to buy a drink.. (and have a cigarette). Already planning for Plan B and throw the ticket in dustbin. Back to the paid area in 10mins just to see if I hv missed the train.. but to my surprise, the crowd getting bigger and is 10mins 12pm.. I change my mind on Plan B curiously wish to know how long does one need to wait for KTMB train.. The next 10 mins, finally put my waiting put to the end. I summarized, I waited for 1hr on non-peak weekdays with completely unpredictable and unreliable timetable. Ever since, I have not choose to move on KTM komuter. I do not know how many out there that have been in this cases. Pity all.

@ Azmi

Public Transport & Mid Valley Megamall, I guess.

In your case, this is typical of KTM Komuter services. None would disagree that KTMB should be renamed as Keretapi Tak Mahu Bergerak.

Today, I use RapidKL services as much as possible. Not perfect but it served me much better.

I doubt the 6-car EMU can make any diffrence. It is made in China. A few years ago, KTM imported 20 locomotive from Dalian. Within months, half the fleet were grounded and a major overhaul was forced.

KTM better get the job done or else……..

@ wrongdoings_rapidkl

wuh.. is a long list of detail recorded problems. I should hv taken the exact date & details..

BTW, wherever KTMB purchased refurbish or 2nd hand trains, there must be qualified engineers or technician to by-off the trains, all-rounder, (electronics, communication, mechanical, air-con’t etc) Is there actually any person doing this in KTMB?? Longer Warranty terms must be bargain for. Technical support & site training from the sellers must be made available. KTMB is operating a fairly technical company like Railway Museum in York, England. No wonder there are so many technical problems.

Tks for the acronym clarification. For someone used to wait avg 3mins for LRT but at some point need to wait for 30mins or 60mins is simply unacceptable.



sy setuju razib. Make sure demo aman tu di buat pada weekend so semua mangsa2 gerabak sardin dari bangi ke klang tu dapat datang.. Harap2 KTMB not halting the service on that day in boycott of the demo..


Jangan membazirkan tenaga dan air liur anda, pihak seperti KTMB takut satu benda sahaja, iaitu MATI/MAUT, kalau anda semua demo, pengarah-pengarah KTMB hanya akan duduk dan perlikan awak semua sahaja. Kalau anda ada sepucuk senapang atau sebutir bom menuding di kepala mereka, baru mereka akan berubah. Kalau tidak, KTMB akan anggap anda semua bahan jenaka dan badul sahaja, dipersendakan dan diketawakan. Jangan lupa, KTMB memang salah satu KRONI KERAJAAN yang dah VETERAN DAN KEBAL!!!


Here he is again, with his usual behaviour, baseless accusations.

It has been proven that he is the world’s biggest liar.

The opposition certainly wants to make him their asset. Keep up the good work and you will end up in their payroll.


You can say whatever you want about me, GENUINE TRUTH IS GENUINE TRUTH and it has been WIDELY RECOGNISED by MANY MALAYSIANS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE. Your BASHING cannot CHANGE or ALTER the TRUTH AT ALL!!! Remember to take your medicine ok?? Or else when your “conditions” “relapsed” you will “menyusahkan” a lot of people!! Or you forgot to attend your “brain therapy” recently???

@ Wrongdoings_rapidkl. Good nomination but it’s okay to have many different views and characters for the greater good of our PT. Just like in Grammy awards, we have heavy metal, pop, jazz, blues, country, rock, rap, dangdut etc.

A lot must be done by KTMB and SPAD to do corrective action. Building MRT here and there but forget to improve existing system..

Please visit this blog have comparing Malaysian rail system with mostly Japan railway system. I hope that Gov will stop to build more and more highway and start to develop a railway country..

It such a waste when several branch lines such as Batang Melaka-Melaka, Taiping-Kuala Sepetang, Tapah-Teluk Intan, Kuantan -Kemaman, Sri Subang and Seremban-Port Dickson not fully utilise or demolished. No need to upgrade the line by double tracking or electrification whatsoever, just well maintain the track and soon years to come it can be utilize as a community service.

wow, there are so many branch lines.. and some are really at premium location like Melaka, Kemaman, PD & Subang. The problem with KTMB is that they don’t think like a company or businessman


For us the problem with KTMB is that they still think like a division of the government. Thus, limited services, customer service is not a priority, they can depend on the government for funds, etc. And most importantly, they think of themselves as a railway company – not a transport service provider. It’s not fully their fault – after all, our government still separates public transport into “road” and “rail” categories (CVLB & DoR) – and for a long time the “road” portion (CVLB) was actually under a completely separate ministry (Entrepreneur & Cooperatives Development).

The old government structure limited the potential of what KTMB could do – but other companies (Rapid, for example) managed to get around the issues.

Meaning that KTMB has taken a limited view of its own potential. It could be a bus operator as well as a rail operator. It could contract existing bus operators to provide feeder bus services around Komuter & KTM stations – linking stations to the ‘town’ areas and residential areas nearby. But as long as they only see themselves as a rail operator they will never look at maximizing that potential.

Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

@ Moaz

Yes I agreed the combination of all those factors making KTMB less customers-oriented and lack of innovation and spirit.

Looking in the perspective of Business Process Reengineering, the solution to KTMB problem is to CORPORATIZE or SEMI-PRIVATIZE or PRIVATIZE them with government still holding the big share, just like Proton, TNB, TM, PLUS etc

Let them be free out of all the bureaucratic and complex governmental structure and run by professionals, technical, visionary and customer oriented pool with many shareholders to answer for.. not just one entity.

Is much easier for the shareholders to remove the non-performance directors/mgmt than the public to remove the same.

Is Transit in favor or what do you think the barriers, pro’s and con’s of KTMB going private? It’s probably a very long points, complex or even sensitive explanation.


KTMB was corporatized years ago. Instead of being run as a division within the Ministry of Transport, KTMB is a “government-owned corporation” 100% owned by Ministry of Finance Inc. – just as Prasarana is. I believe there were plans for full privatization of KTMB but there were serious objections from inside and out. I will see if I can find more information on those issues.

The corporatization or stalled privatization (or piratization (as some might be happy to refer to it) has unfortunately led to a number of problems for KTM. First, the organization is still “nominally” (and somewhat logically) under the Ministry of Transport – but the finances and important decision making is under the Finance Ministry. A quick check of KTMB’s Board of Directors will give you an idea. Second, there is a lack of funding for the maintenance (not even expansion) of KTMB’s “Komuter division” – perhaps a reflection of fundamental questions about who should be in-charge. You will note that KTMB’s rail expansion projects, intercity projects and freight rail projects have largely been supported and funded with little objection. Third, the corporatization has led to an interest in cost cutting – deferring maintenance of the existing trains, maintaining the rudimentary structure of most Komuter stations & halts, etc. – rather than maintaining or improving service. Fourth, many KTMB employees are unhappy with the corporate structure of KTMB as a semi-privatized organization, with its own divisions (Freight, intercity & Komuter) as well as subsidiary companies (ETS, KTM Park).

So the biq question is, should KTMB be fully privatized? I personally believe that KTMB is a national company and should be maintained as such – run in the national interest and for the public interest rather than the bottom-line interests of shareholders – unless such shareholders can be educated about the “triple bottom line” of service, service, and service.

So I personally don’t think that full privatization is necessary (or even desirable) yet. I’ve told Dr. Aminuddin that I’d rather see a full corporate restructuring first rather than privatization. Restructure KTMB to be a holding company with separate subsidiary companies operating intercity, freight, ETS, and Komuter services as well as maintenance (rail and rolling stock), station management and parking, and perhaps even feeder bus services.

That kind of structure would make KTMB much more efficient gIn the future, KTMB can start looking at selling off some of these corporate subsidiares and maintain its core responsibilities and contract out certain services wherever necessary.

Other people within TRANSIT have different views and they are encouraged.

Regads, Moaz for TRANSIT

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