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Rail Construction Projects Booming in Malaysia

Rail construction projects are booming in Malaysia, and while they are great news for the country’s economy – it’s even better news for those construction professionals looking to work there. With two major rail projects well underway, one set for launch and one about to begin, we take a look at their story so far.

MyHSR

The High Speed Rail from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, MyHSR, is the highly anticipated mega rail project which will seamlessly connect 7 cities in Malaysia. The world has its eyes on MyHSR, which is estimated to cost a cool RM50-66 billion, and begin its service by 2026.

Last month, a progress briefing was held for those within the industry including suppliers, network operators and construction companies. On the briefing, Land Transport Authority Chief Executive, Mr Ngien Hoon Ping, said: “We will be calling the AssetsCo tender by the end of this year, and we look forward to receiving quality bids from various consortia.”

MyHSR Chief Executive Officer, Mr Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal, said: “It is essential that we explore all opportunities for innovation to ensure that the project is implemented in the most efficient manner. Other tenders such as the civil and Operating Company (‘OpCo’) tenders will be developed according to the project timeline and announcements will be made in due course.”

East Coast Main Line

Due for completion in 2024, the railway will carry passengers as well as freight from east to west coast Malaysia. Hailed as an "alternative trade route", it is claimed that 53 million tonnes of cargo will bypass Singapore annually by 2030.

At an East Coast Rail Link ceremony attended by Prime Minister Najib Razak this month, Mr Najib said the 668km line would boost the eastern region - which lags behind the rest of the country, raising economic growth by 1.5% per year.

Johan Saravanamuttu, of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies said: “Singapore will still be very important for the short to medium term. It is arguably still one of the most efficient ports with massive carrying capacity.”

State-owned China Communications Construction Company is constructing the line, with China Exim Bank providing 85% of the capital. The opposition in Malaysia argues that the link is unlikely to generate sufficient revenue to repay the loan, and critics are concerned that Malaysian business will not reap the benefits of the project. Mr Najib said China had agreed to offer 30% of the project to local contractors.

KVMRT Line 2 (SSP)

The Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT) System, is one of the largest transport infrastructure projects of its kind. Phase one of the MRT SBK Line began operating in December, with a recorded two million passengers in just six months. Phase 2, with 19 more stations between Semantan and Kajang, is in its final stages of testing and operation is soon to be launched.

Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai noted that the impending Phase Two launch will be a significant historic event for Malaysia, as it marks the completion of the RM21 billion line.

Work on the KVMRT Line 2 (SSP) is due to begin soon and is expected to be completed in 2022. This rail line has a total of 37 planned stations – 11 of them underground, and will extend from Sungai Buloh to Putajaya.

Welcome Aboard

Maxim Recruitment is interested to hear from Rail Civil Engineers and System Engineers looking for rail opportunities in Asia. Cantonese or Mandarin language skills are in great demand for construction jobs in Asia, so we would love to hear from you if you match the skill set.

Please call me, Richard Poulter, to discuss these and other positions on +852 5444 0094. My office hours are 9am to 6pm Hong Kong time. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Richard Poulter
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