An Update on Infrastructure Developments in Malaysia

Posted by Richard Poulter, Construction Recruitment Director, Hong Kong on Monday, February 12, 2024

This week, I'm visiting Malaysia to catch up with construction industry clients, ex-colleagues and friends and hopefully sample some of the fantastic array of multi-cultural Malaysian cuisines!

Malaysia’s tiger economy during the early and mid-nineties, fuelled by foreign investment, paved the way for hugely impressive infrastructure and building projects, including the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, constructed in the heart of Kuala Lumpur – sending an unequivocal message that Malaysia was undergoing transformational development.   

Regrettably, the Asian financial crash of 1997 all but snuffed out those lofty aspirations and whilst Malaysia’s economy has recovered since that time, world events and political unrest since then have hampered Malaysia’s economic development and progress.

However in 2024, the economic and construction outlook is presenting itself as optimistic, and in this post, I take a look at 3 major rail infrastructure development programs in the planning which should engage and keep construction engineers, project managers, planning engineers and rail system engineers busy for the next 10 years. I conclude with a couple of excellent career opportunities for both young and experienced Malaysian Quantity Surveyors who are keen to base themselves in Kuala Lumpur and cut their teeth as a consultant on precontract cost planning for major UK based building projects.

High Speed Rail

A new high speed rail project is proposed to run between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.  The scheme will be 350km long and is expected to reduce the travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to 90 minutes, connecting cities such as Putra Jaya, Seremban, Melaka, Johor and Jurong East.

Slated as a high impact project and a part of the Malaysian government’s economic transformation road-map, the scheme was shelved multiple times since its inception in 2010 due to high costs and following a succession of changes in government has been back on the table since 2023.

The scheme will be awarded as a public – private partnership initiative using a design, finance, build operate transfer model. Seven consortia featuring dozens of major local and foreign companies each have been requested to submit technical and commercial proposals.

Malaysia’s decision to delay the estimated US$17 billion project has left it lagging behind some of its regional peers in rail connectivity and speed. The Maxim team is watching closely in anticipation of further updates as an eventual green light will be the signal for the start of major recruitment campaigns for both locally based construction professionals and an influx of expatriate rail and construction talent. Specialist tunnel engineers, planning engineers and rail system engineers will certainly be in high demand and these and other construction professionals with major rail projects experience will be needed.  Register your CV with us to enable us to bear you in mind when these job vacancies go live!

MRT 3 – Circle Line 

From its inception in 2016, the scheme will serve as the final piece of the Klang Valley mass rapid transit network and construction of this mass rail transit loop around the Klang Valley is finally scheduled to start in 2024 with the securing of the land corridor.

With nearly 51 km of rail and 24 elevated and 7 underground stations, the target cost is RM 31 Billion with a further RM8.1 Billion in land acquisition costs.

The project will be welcomed not only by commuters but also by the construction community at large as civil engineering recruitment in Malaysia will once again flourish and civil engineering contractor jobs and construction consultant jobs will likely proliferate job boards and civil engineering recruitment websites. Please get in touch if you would like further information on careers in construction relating to this highly anticipated project.  

Penang LTRT

The Bayan Lepas LRT is a proposed light rapid transit line on Malaysia’s fine heritage state of Penang island. It stretches from the main underground station of Komtar in Georgetown to the industrial town of Bayan Lepas in the south of the island. The scheme will comprise 27 stations with one of the underground stations in George Town serving as a major interchange for a future cross channel link to Butterworth on peninsula Malaysia. Delayed by Covid, the federal government announced that construction will finally commence in 2024 with the completion of its first phase in around 5 years.

All of these projects are demanding and technically challenging and offer Civil Engineers, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Project Managers and Planning Engineers fantastic opportunities! 

Calling Malaysian Quantity Surveyors!

The Maxim team in Asia is working hard to identify top pre-contract PQS/QS talent to join an international project management and cost management consultancy with a branch office in the vibrant heart of Kuala Lumpur. If you are degree qualified Quantity Surveyor with around 5 years of experience in pre contract administration and cost planning of projects in the built environment, please take a look at the Intermediate Quantity Surveyor job we are recruiting for.

If you are currently managing a team of Quantity Surveyors in pre or post contract administration and looking for the next move up the career ladder with a progressive and forward thinking construction consultancy then please consider this excellent opportunity Associate Director of Quantity Surveying.

Malaysia remains an exciting hub for construction projects that are underway being built, and the future remains bright with a range of new projects coming to market and starting on site soon.

Please get in touch with your CV if you are based in Malaysia or are interested in relocating to work in Malaysia.


Richard Poulter
Richard Poulter
Construction Recruitment Director, Hong Kong
Maxim Recruitment

Richard has successfully recruited for the construction industry for the past 13 years following 15 years as a civil engineer and construction project manager. He is based in Hong Kong and responsible for Maxim Recruitment operations in Hong Kong, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.