Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Revival of KL-Spore Bullet Train...will YTL have the last laugh?

In Forbes Magazine, June 8, 2009 issue, Francis Yeoh is featured in an article, "Last Laugh."

He is one of Malaysia's richest men and is known for his flamboyant lifestyle, including his two helicopters, a private island and famous friends such as the late Luciano Pavarott.
YTL is still sitting on $2.8 billion in cash

Yeoh has had setbacks. For years he tried to get approval from the Malaysian government to build a fast train connecting Singapore and Malaysia, but the project was shelved in April 2008, apparently stalled by politics. Now Yeoh seems to be trying again, with Siemens Malaysia as a partner. He won't say much. "The more I talk about it, the more the project will never come alive," he worries. Still he argues that people didn't believe in his high-speed rail between Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the city center, which carries 4.5 million people a year. "I pray that this project will come in my lifetime. Even if it is not done by me, I want to see it happen between the two countries."
The project costed 8 billion ringits ($2.5 billion US), the bullet train project would have reduced the current six and a half hour trip to ninety minutes.

They were oppositions to the project as it could be more beneficial to Singapore than Malaysia in the long run. Jeff Oii had an entry on this here as well as Citizen Nades here. Bernama reported Posers Arise Over Viability Of KL-Singapore Bullet Train Project
However, the majority opinion is that for the project to go ahead, the Federal Government's support will be required in such matters as obtaining soft loans, providing subsidies or compulsory acquisition of land for the track.

A thorny issue is the likelihood of protests over the compulsory acquisition of land along the route as many landowners are unlikely to give up their land without a fight or asking for high compensations.

Meanwhile, rail service provider KTM Bhd managing director Datuk Mohd Salleh Abdullah has been quoted as saying that the project is not suitable for now as such a service can be provided by the state-owned rail company itself if a number of infrastructure projects are developed.
With the third bridge is said to be on the table, we may see Yeoh's dream would be realised in his life time after all.....

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