Malaysia postpones inter-city and high speed rail plans

October 23, 2018 / By

MRT3: A delayed boon
In May 2018, the newly appointed Prime Minister announced the postponement of the MRT3 Line, which was scheduled to be completed by 2025.

Figure 1: Map of integrated MRT lines (proposed)Source: The Star

The MRT3 line, otherwise known also as the Circle Line, serves to boost overall connectivity in the Klang Valley, integrating the first two MRT lines and other existing transit lines. As connectivity has become a high priority forKuala Lumpur (KL) homebuyers, more will have to look to the suburban areas as property prices have become increasingly more expensive in the central areas.

In addition, commuting to work by car can be inconvenient due to heavy congestion during peak hours, especially in the city centre. This demand for public transit services is evident in Figure 2 which shows a boost in ridership with the addition of the first MRT line in 2017. Unsurprisingly, efficient and punctual transit services are also highly valued, indicated by the decrease in ridership of KL Monorail and KTM.

Figure 2: Daily ridership of Rail Services in the Klang Valley (2015-2017)
Source: Ministry of Transport Malaysia

HSR: Re-strategizing needed
Similar to the MRT3 line, the High Speed Rail (HSR) line, connecting Malaysia and Singapore has also been suspended, with construction deferred to May 2020. With seven planned stations, the Malaysia-Singapore rail was expected to attract various developments in the areas surrounding the stations. In addition, it could entice more Singaporean spending and investments in Malaysia.

One such station is Bandar Malaysia, which houses the Malaysian terminus of the HSR. The planned 486-acre mixed-used development is situated in a prime location for future development and has high connectivity to the Kuala Lumpur city centre. Although it will still be connected to the upcoming MRT2, Bandar Malaysia will face challenges in getting the same level of pull factor and interest as it had with HSR previously in the pipeline.

Developments nearby Bandar Malaysia expecting spillover effects from the HSR will likely to face similar situation. Moreover, some developers may need to re-strategize some of their plans having included HSR in their previous promotional and marketing materials.

Expectations for the future
The deferment of the MRT3 Line and the HSR Line are part of the new government’s efforts to heal the economy by reduce national debt and government expenditure. Although these measures may pose some challenges in the short-term, they are expected to be beneficial to the country in the medium- to long-term.

Nevertheless, the constructions of MRT2 and LRT3 lines are expected to proceed more efficiently and will be completed by mid-2021 and 2020 respectively. With this renewed hope of more efficient developments, it will be interesting to witness the prospect of economic and property market growth partly backed by the various national infrastructures.

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