Are we being taken for a ride by the government?

November 29, 2011

The big question that needs to be asked is: What is the total cost for the proposed Klang Valley Mass/My Rapid Transport (KVMRT) project to date anyway?

The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) website mentioned: “The Government approved the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transport (KVMRT) project on Dec 17, 2010. The first line of the network will run from Sungai Buloh in the northwest of Kuala Lumpur, to Kajang.

“The line is about 60km and will have around 35 stations. It will serve a population of about 1.2 million people living in areas such as Sungai Buloh, Kota Damansara, Bandar Utama, Damansara Utama, Pusat Bandar Damansara, Taman Maluri, Cheras, Taman Bukit Ria, Taman Bukit Mewah, Taman Suntex, Bandar Hussein Onn and Kajang as well as the city centre of Kuala Lumpur. The expected ridership of the line is 442,000 passengers per day. Construction of the line is expected to begin in July 2011”.

It did not specify the amount in this paragraph. After searching for the information from the relevant sources, we found out that the initial cost based on 2009 estimate was RM20 billion, then the 2010 estimate was about RM30 billion, then by July this year (2011) it was raised to a staggering RM53 billion.

It was reported on Aug 24, this year that the project will start in January 2012 (not July 2011) and completed by 2016. Then on Nov 19 this year, the MRT Corporation (MRT Co) chief executive officer said that the public may need to wait until July 2017 for the project to be completed, adding that his company was still trying to meet the original 2016 deadline. He indirectly acknowledged that the cost was RM40 billion then.

The Umno-BN government has not been telling us the truth. Information from the SPAD grapevines, leaked out that the actual allocation was RM30 billion for construction and RM20 billion for clearing the physical obstruction along the alignment including acquisition of land and property. Thus the total amount is RM50 billion.

When the MRT Co. acknowledged that the cost is RM40 billion, did he mean just the construction cost or was it the overall cost? If indeed it was just the construction, then the overall cost can go as high as RM60 billion (including the acquisition). So from RM20 billion in 2009, the cost has now ballooned to RM60 billion in 2011.

With all the obstacles, delay, rising costs of material and all the uncertainties, at the end how much would it cost? The next question is, is it worth it at all? Then we should ask, is there no other better way to resolve the transport problem? We can ask how much money will change hands but, unfortunately will never know the answer.

However the KVMRT story seems to be so eerily quiet now, for all we know, we are being taken for a ride by the Umno-BN government, even before it starts construction. Is the KVMRT project, just like the NFC in Gemas, doomed from start!?

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