KUALA LUMPUR (April 24): Mega rail projects in the country is not a threat to the local airline sector.

The two high profile rail projects, the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) and “controversial” East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) have come under criticism for being too costly and could potentially kill off the domestic airline industry.

“If the impact was so negative, as alleged by some parties, then bus companies and other transportation systems will no longer function. On the contrary, these projects give the public more choices.

“I believe all transportation companies, whether for buses, airlines or trains, will have their own business plans, and I am certain that whatever the government undertakes will not sideline other sectors,” Bernama reported Johor State Public Works, Rural and Regional Development Committee chairman, Hasni Mohammad as saying today.

Hasni also explained that “such projects are conducted in a holistic manner that took into consideration the impact on all parties”.

Hasni was speaking to the media after officiating the ground-breaking ceremony for the RM9.4 billion, 192km, Gemas-Johor Bahru Electric Double-Tracking Railway Project today.

Former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin commented recently that the ECRL and HSR projects would ruin the local airline industry.

“Is it necessary at this stage to have the ECRL or travel by train to Singapore? What would happen to our MAS, or AirAsia and Malindo? People would use the train instead of our airlines.

“(For example) if I can go to Singapore in 90 minutes (by the HSR), why would I want to wait in the airport for 45 minutes and then take another train? I might as well take the HSR. So what’s going to happen to our airline industry? Did they (the federal government) think about it? Have they studied what would happen to our airlines?” Daim said on Saturday.

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