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KTM Update: Another restructuring for KTMB promises to accomplish what earlier restructuring(s) did not

TRANSIT took note of this article which describes plans for another corporate restructuring at KTMB.

It is sad that the Malayan Railway has still not managed to figure out whether it is supposed to be a government agency, corporate entity, or something in between.

TRANSIT remembers earlier corporate restructurings that have happened for KTMB. Well, at least they were started but then they got stalled either because of a lack of government support, an unclear vision, or resistance from workers (among other reasons).

The corporatization of KTM began nearly 2 decades ago but it was never finished. A lack of government funding and deferred maintenance since the corporatization has helped bring KTMB to its knees.

Recently one President of KTMB started an RM1 campaign, promising to take KTMB back to profitability. That campaign died aborning, when the president was quickly replaced (it might have had something to do with his “hybrid” trains).

The most recent KTMB President has talked about restructuring KTMB into a holding company, with various railway service subsidiaries (freight, Komuter, ETS, power systems, maintenance, terminal management, etc). and selling track warrants to other companies interested in providing railway services. He believes that this model will be successful because it has worked in Europe – despite the fact that it has not worked in many European countries and that Malaysia lacks the density that makes railway travel profitable.

We wonder what this latest restructuring will bring for KTMB but we wish to share one important point – KTMB needs to have a clear vision of the kind of transport service provider that it needs to be over the next 10-20 years.

Without that clear vision, this latest restructuring will be as effective as the last ones.

Railway revamp (Star Biz)

Thursday October 27, 2011
By SHARIDAN M. ALI
sharidan@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: KTM Bhd (KTMB) will undergo a two-year corporate restructuring programme to turn around the ailing national rail operator and a consultant will be hired to manage this, according to the Treasury, in its reply to the Auditor-General’s (A-G) report.

The A-G’s report had stated that KTMB posted a loss of RM92.6mil in 2009 compared with RM84.6mil loss in the previous year.

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New KTM Komuter trains arrive in Port Klang (Update #2)

  • photos of the 6 Car Set trains on KTMB’s Facebook here http://on.fb.me/nZj99G !
  • Updated with an article from Railway Gazette!

TRANSIT took note of this article, announcing that the first of the new 6-carriage Komuter trains has arrived in Malaysia.

One of the cab-cars of the new KTM Komuter 6-carriage set (SCS). Image courtesy of @VehicleExaminer and posted to ktmrailwayfan.com

Click here for a larger view of the image above.

This train is the first of 6 trains which will arrive over the remainder of this year, and will likely be put into service in late December 2011 or early 2012.

TRANSIT was invited to the arrival ceremony but were unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts. However, we thank KTMB for the invitation.

KTM gets first batch of electric train coaches from China (The Star)
23 September 2011

PORT KLANG: Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTM) has received the first batch of six electric train coaches from the Transport Ministry.

First batch: Kong (in tie) inspecting one of the electric train coaches in Port Klang Thursday. Image courtesy of The Star.

Its minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the Six-Car-Set (SCS) manufactured by China’s Zhu Zhou Electric Locomotives Co Ltd were shipped from Shanghai Port on Sept 13 and reached Westport at 2am yesterday.

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KTM Update: Improved facilities at Komuter stations will help deal with long waits.

TRANSIT took note of this interesting article in which KTMB has announced plans to improve the facilities at KTM Komuter stations, to help commuters deal with the unacceptable wait times that are plaguing the system.

Now, this is something that TRANSIT had been talking about for some time – and ironically, it took a few years to get the plans in place. And probably even more ironic is that by the time everything is done and taken care of, there will be another 20-30 Komuter trains operating – so the facilities may end up going unused.

But in the meantime – let’s learn more about the plans.

KTMB to add new features for wait time and security (The Star)
19 September

KUALA LUMPUR: Plans are in the pipeline for Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) to upgrade its train stations with more facilities to enhance convenience for passengers.

KTMB will also be implementing features to improve commuters’ security in its stations.

KTMB corporate communications senior manager Mohd Fazil Ismail said KTMB would introduce features such as WiFi, fans, LCD screens and mobile phone chargers that would keep commuters occupied during train arrival intervals.

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KTMB Update: New Komuter trains to be called “MyKomuter”

TRANSIT took note that KTMB has set up a display at KL Sentral station showcasing the design of the new KTM Komuter train sets, the first of which will arrive on September 25 of this year. The new trains will be branded as “MyKomuter” which is … ok, we won’t comment. Let’s just say that the name is not a surprise (and neither are the 1Malaysia logos on the train).

Now, TRANSIT has already shared some photos of the new Komuter trains – so we will only provide a link to the most recent photos and share a few important ones with you in our post.

A picture showing the seating layout for the new Komuter trains. Note the end carriages have only side facing seats, while the interior carriages have a mixture. Image courtesy of @TWK90

Click here for a larger version of the image above.

For one thing, it seems that there may be some confusion over the layout of the seats in the trains. So for the record:

  • The 2 “end” carriages do not have front/back facing seats – they only have side-facing seats
  • The 4 “inside” carriages have a mix of front/back facing and side-facing seats.

Also worth mentioning about the train are the following details:

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The KTM Debate: Should the railway sector be opened up to “competition”?

TRANSIT took note of this interesting letter by C.R. of Kuala Lumpur, who discusses the recent protest by the Railwaymen’s Union of Malaya (RUM), which included warnings of a “work-to-rule” campaign & potential disruption of Balik Kampung / Hari Raya Aidilfitri travel.

C.R. argues that it might be time to open up the Railway sector to increased competition.

TRANSIT will tell you what we think about the proposal, but first, read the letter:

Railway services: Time to open up sector (NST)
2011/08/11
C.R., Kuala Lumpur

THE government has invested billions of ringgit in the double track project to enhance the capacity of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad’s operations.

The recent threat by the Railwaymen’s Union to work to rule, therefore, is cause for concern.

The government should not be held to ransom by a small group of union members.

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Updates #98

Updates #98

1. Article: Firm denies using taxi coupons to make ‘easy money’ (NST, 10 August 2011) – Mohd Nasir Mohd Rashid, Exec. Chairman of MESRA Indah Jaya Sdn. Bhd. which operates the taxi coupon system in Johor Baru, has denied allegations that it is making an “RM2 profit from the sale of coupons as alleged” but only “taking a 10 per cent commission to cover our maintenance and management costs.”

2. Article: Bandar Kinrara 3 residents want Station 5 moved (The Star, 9 August 2011)

3. Article: SPAD to boost Raya road safety (The Malay Mail, 10 August 2011) – SPAD’s first time participating in the annual Balik Kampung / Hari Raya safety campaign, from 14 August – 14 September including investigation & checking of public transport vehicles “round-the-clock”. Unfortunately, we also read this article: Article: Meddling riders a problem, drivers say (The Star, 11 August 2011) in which JPJ director-general Solah Mat Hassan appears to blame passengers for asking questions and pressuring drivers into driving faster.

Express bus passengers should ensure a safe journey by not pressuring their drivers unnecessarily, said Road Transport Department (JPJ) director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan.

He said passenger pressure was a big concern for many drivers who felt pressured to drive faster to reach their destination quickly.

“Some always ask ‘what time will we reach?’ Passengers must not give drivers this unnecessary pressure.

TRANSIT: What nonsense! As if passengers asking “are we there yet?” is the only factor behind our unsafe buses?

4. Articles: NST has two articles about the upcoming Balik Kampung rush:

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KTM Update: 4 new Komuter EMUs to operate by the end of September 2011?

Berita Harian reported that 4 new KTM EMUs would be operating in September 2011.

How exactly we do not know. We recently were told that the first train would arrive in September and undergo testing & commissioning, a process that we expect would take some time.

Now, the information is that 4 trains will arrive, undergo testing & commissioning and be in service by the end of September?

Call us skeptical.

Empat set tren elektrik beroperasi September (Berita Harian)
Oleh Mohd Zin Ali dan Ahmad Farizal Hajat
bhbiz@bharian.com.my
2011/08/05

Komuter enam gerabak tingkat mutu khidmat KTM

EMPAT set pertama daripada 38 set unit tren elektrik (EMU) enam gerabak yang dibeli Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) dari China untuk digunakan bagi perkhidmatan komuter, membabitkan pelaburan keseluruhan RM1.9 bilion, akan beroperasi September ini.

Pengarah NKRA, Bahagian Mempertingkatkan Pengangkutan Awam di Bandar, Ahmad Suhaili Idrus, berkata menerusinya, ia akan mengurangkan secara berperingkat masalah perkhidmatan komuter yang tidak cekap ketika ini.

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KTM Update: Is the Railwaymen’s Union becoming ‘political’?

Is the Railwaymen’s Union becoming political?

That is the question that was running through the minds of TRANSIT members when we learnt that the KTM Railwaymen’s Union had written a letter to Prime Minister Najib Razak to protest the reappointment of Dr. Aminuddin Adnan as president of KTMB for a second 2 year term.

Now, we already know that the RMU is not happy with Dr. Aminuddin. They have expressed their concern about the setting up of ETS Sdn. Bhd. as a subsidiary of KTMB, rather than a division like Komuter, Freight and Intercity. The group also expressed their concerns over a possible plan to hand KTMB HQ over to the private sector for development. There have been at least two protests by the RMU over issues and a new one is being planned.

But now, the RMU has taken their concerns into the political arena, warning Prime Minister Najib that they will encourage their membership to not vote for BN in any upcoming election if these issues are not resolved.

We’ll derail BN, railwaymen warn Najib (Free Malaysia Today)
28 July 2011

Patrick Lee

The letter, penned by the KTM employees’ union secretary, who is also an Umno man, pans the Najib administration’s tagline as well.

PETALING JAYA: In a letter to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, the Railwaymen Union of Malaya (RUM) warned him of protest votes against the Barisan Nasional in the next polls.

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KTM Update: Should MACC ‘train’ their eyes onto KTMB?

TRANSIT took note of this article in Free Malaysia Today which argues that, while the first of the new KTM Komuter trains is soon to arrive on our shores (some say it has already arrived, but we have yet to see any photos), the question of the tender for these new trains (and other issues at KTMB) needs to be explored in greater depth by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

EMU train ready, MACC still lingering
Stephanie Sta Maria | July 18, 2011

A ROTEM train operating KTM Komuter service. Image courtesy of FMT.

China will deliver the first EMU train to Malaysia in September even though MACC has yet to complete investigations into the supposed lopsided purchase.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will receive the first of 38 six-coach Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trains from China in September despite an ongoing investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) into the deal.

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Updates #96


Updates #96

1. Hotline Story: Stop as you please? Passengers forced to alight even in the middle of the road (Malay Mail, 26 July 2011) – Priveena Mahan complains about being dropped off in the middle of the street.

ANYWHERE WILL DO: A bus stops in the middle of the road for passengers to alight and embark. Image courtesy of The Malay Mail.

[TRANSIT: RapidKL responds here explaining that they cannot always approach bus stops properly because of parked cars at the side of the road. But that should be the exception, rather than the rule.]