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MRT Project Will Cost Road Users More Than RM 403.5 Million in 5 Years Operation If Wrongly Designed

In Malaysia, we have been using high amounts of fossil fuel for transportation sector. According to National Energy Balance 2008 (latest report), there has been steady increase in the usage of fossil fuel in transportation sector from 12,071 ktoe (kilotonne oil equivalent) in 2000, 15,384 ktoe in 2005 and 16,395 ktoe in 2008. Such increase definitely can be curbed if there is good development in public transportation sector.

If we introduce an effective MRT system, we can save the energy wastage and reduce pollution. However, this is only possible if the passengers’ that want to commute prefers public transportation to reach such stations. If the planning goes awry, more energy and obviously peoples’ money will be wasted. Then, who is going to take liability if things do not go according to plan?

Based on our financial modelling study, if the MRT project is wrongly designed, it can cost a financial loss for road users close to RM 403.5 Million in 5 years time during operation. The financial loss is due to fuel usage. The breakdown on annual cost estimation is as below:

Table: Annual Fuel Cost Estimation Due to Traffic Congestion (based on AWER’s Modelling)


Estimated fuel cost a year (RM Million)











In our modelling study, we have included parameters such as, two times traffic congestion (morning and evening) with only 30 minutes peak traffic congestion, rate of passenger flow in an hour, 40 week of 5 working days for a year, RON 95 fuel cost (RM 1.90 per litre now and only 10% increase per year) and statistic of public transportation usage. The actual cost will be higher as we are modelling for 30 minutes of peak congestion only.

Minister of Transport has quoted foreign countries that have successful rail systems. He justified that MRT should go ahead based on that. Well, those countries have been developing their rail systems with efficient supporting systems such as shuttle bus services, trams, pedestrian walkways, parking facilities, etc, over a long period of time. That is why they are good role model.

JICA (Japanese International Cooperation Agency) have supported for a transportation study in Malaysia and it was carried out from February 1997 to March 1999. This was supposed to be the study that pushes for MRT. But, this study was carried out during economic downturn and it was also based on previous statistics. Effectively data before 1996 will be used for estimations. This shows that, we will be constructing and operating MRT after 2016 with a 20 years gap in planning. Can we take such study as a valid study for implementation?

In fact, the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) for the current MRT project has not been  approved by Department of Environment (DOE). It is surprising also many residential associations are voicing their concern about the project whereby the EIA consultants should have done a social impact study with these groups of people some time back. Can the EIA consultants proof that this project will be able to reduce pollution and give positive impact to Klang Valley? This is something we have to wait and see where the DEIA report is estimated to be submitted by February 2011.

Piarapakaran S.


Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (AWER)

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