LETTER | Prior to journey limits have been imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I flew in between KL and Singapore many periods a thirty day period for operate. I need to say I am rather common with the air travel among both countries.
So, when the federal government final week determined to terminate the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore Large Speed Rail (HSR) job linking the two nations, I really feel it is the correct transfer. From Day 1, I have experienced reservations about the venture.
Initially of all, flights in between Malaysia and Singapore, particularly from KL were aplenty (at minimum ahead of MCO) and the selling prices were being realistic due to the rigorous opposition amid the airways plying the route.
In fact, the KL-Singapore airspace is between the busiest in the entire world. It generally requires about two several hours, or a bit far more, for a single to arrive in Singapore just after factoring in travelling time to KLIA and the verify-in course of action.
The HSR promised to reduce travelling time to around 90 minutes, only marginally quicker. And we continue to want to element in the cost of the prepare tickets. Until you can find a critical mass, I consider the HSR ticket would be markedly far more highly-priced than flying.
Air journey between Malaysia and Singapore was rapid and easy and decisions aplenty, at least before the lockdown. From the business enterprise travellers standpoint, there is certainly no pressing want to present option transportation.
Apart from, with Covid-19 now on us, it is needless, if not irresponsible, to devote a staggering RM43 billion to create the HSR task. So considerably more can be performed by the authorities with that quantity of cash, particularly to support the vulnerable teams strike by the pandemic.
If I may perhaps do simple arithmetic, RM43 billion if disbursed equally to all 30 million Malaysians, including infants and the elderly, will see just about every just one of us offered some RM1,433. A family members of four will get RM5,732. Consider just how a lot that would imply to the B40 team now hard hit by Covid-19.
Of study course, which is not how the HSR costing – or wealth distribution – will work, but my simplified calculations are meant to draw interest to the astronomical sums concerned.
Other than, Malaysia has a knack for creating infrastructure because that is the place the politically-related make their revenue. Just look at the Port Klang Free of charge Zone (PKFZ), which was modelled immediately after Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone but has only turn out to be a big economic load on taxpayers due to the before mismanagement and corruption.
Some have argued that the HSR would have an financial spillover outcome, specifically in towns in which the stations would have been developed. This argument, though legitimate, does not handle the trouble of alleviating the hardship of persons all over the country, not just quite a few cities along the 350km extend the HSR tracks ended up planned out for.
The “spillover impact” would have been dealt with by the Gemas ETS venture, which links KL and JB by means of rail. Just like how KL is now very well connected to Ipoh and Penang by way of the ETS rail company, the Gemas double-tracking rail project will hook up the federal cash to the southern elements of the peninsula. Though the trains are not as rapid as the HSR, they do deliver comfy option transport to individuals who do not desire to fly or drive.
I know a whole lot of close friends who take the ETS to Ipoh, Penang and over and above, irrespective of whether for operate or leisure. The comfort and ease and services like WiFi onboard make ETS an desirable alternative if they want to prevent driving or traveling. Towns like Kampar and Batu Gajah have enjoyed the spillover effect from the relieve of people achieving there and I foresee the exact same results for the southern stretch of the rail tracks.
To me, the HSR is a challenge for which the time has not but arrive. I will not question that one particular working day we would need to revive the HSR, probably linking Singapore and Kunming in China, an concept floated in the 1990s. For now, there are a lot more urgent matters at hand and Malaysia has created the proper preference not to commence with the challenge until finally a a lot more acceptable time.
The views expressed below are all those of the writer/contributor and do not necessarily depict the views of Malaysiakini.