Iskandar-S’pore rail link to be ready by 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: The proposed 100km inter-city rail line between Iskandar Malaysia in Johor and Singapore is set to be completed within the next three years, said Malaysia Steel Works Bhd (Masteel) CEO Datuk Seri Tai Hean Leng.

“As soon as the requisite funding is finalised, we will proceed with the construction of the rail line, hopefully by early next year,” he said after the company AGM yesterday.

The rail system will be built and operated by Metropolitan Computer Network Sdn Bhd, a 60:40 joint venture project between Masteel and KUB Malaysia Bhd.

The RM1 billion project will be divided into two parts, the first involving the rehabilitation of the railway line between Pasir Gudang and Pelabuhan Tanjung Pelepas.

“The government agreed that the current line needs serious repairs, so we have offered to do it for them,” Tai said.

The second part involves the construction of 21 train stations by KUB, which will be done concurrently with all remaining rail works under Masteel’s purview.

The ministry of transport (MOT) has offered Masteel a key piece of land in Kempas, Johor, which will be designated as a train depot.

“The land that is available for a depot is very limited. The MOT’s Railway Assets Corp has offered this prime piece of land, and we are trying to finalise the purchase.”  

Tai said negotiations between the company and MOT over the land in Kempas had been put on hold due to the 13th general election.

The company believes that the local construction sector will pick up pace during the second half of the year, with an additional RM100 million worth of investments lined up for the next two years.

“We expect the selling price of steel to rebound after Hari Raya Aidilfitri [in August] as construction work will continue uninterrupted for the rest of the year,” Tai said.

He said the selling price of steel has dropped by 15% this year, with construction work experiencing a slowdown.  

He disclosed that key infrastructure projects under the Economic Transformation Programme accounted for 30% of Masteel’s total revenue last year.

Among key infrastructure projects underpinning the company’s growth for 2013 are the Klang Valley mass rapid transit, light rail transit extension, second Penang bridge and the Janamanjung power plant.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on June 28, 2013.


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