TRANSIT took note of this article which describes plans for another corporate restructuring at KTMB.
It is sad that the Malayan Railway has still not managed to figure out whether it is supposed to be a government agency, corporate entity, or something in between.
TRANSIT remembers earlier corporate restructurings that have happened for KTMB. Well, at least they were started but then they got stalled either because of a lack of government support, an unclear vision, or resistance from workers (among other reasons).
The corporatization of KTM began nearly 2 decades ago but it was never finished. A lack of government funding and deferred maintenance since the corporatization has helped bring KTMB to its knees.
Recently one President of KTMB started an RM1 campaign, promising to take KTMB back to profitability. That campaign died aborning, when the president was quickly replaced (it might have had something to do with his “hybrid” trains).
The most recent KTMB President has talked about restructuring KTMB into a holding company, with various railway service subsidiaries (freight, Komuter, ETS, power systems, maintenance, terminal management, etc). and selling track warrants to other companies interested in providing railway services. He believes that this model will be successful because it has worked in Europe – despite the fact that it has not worked in many European countries and that Malaysia lacks the density that makes railway travel profitable.
We wonder what this latest restructuring will bring for KTMB but we wish to share one important point – KTMB needs to have a clear vision of the kind of transport service provider that it needs to be over the next 10-20 years.
Without that clear vision, this latest restructuring will be as effective as the last ones.
Thursday October 27, 2011
By SHARIDAN M. ALI
PETALING JAYA: KTM Bhd (KTMB) will undergo a two-year corporate restructuring programme to turn around the ailing national rail operator and a consultant will be hired to manage this, according to the Treasury, in its reply to the Auditor-General’s (A-G) report.
TRANSIT recently took note of these articles announcing the demolition of the Butterworth Railway station as part of the Electrification & Double Tracking project from Ipoh to Padang Besar.
The old Butterworth Station will be replaced with a new railway station – one that will presumably be designed to accommodate more electric train services as well as the proposed “Komuter Utara” service (more like ETS but still important) that would service the Northern Corridor Economic Region.
But do not confuse the new Butterworth station with the Penang Sentral project that will be coming up nearby. Penang Sentral is a commercial development with an attached bus hub, while the railway station will be somewhat separate.
TRANSIT took note of this press release from Balfour Beatty Ansaldo Systems JV, which is working on the Systems Package for the Electrification & Double Tracking project from Ipoh to Padang Besar.
The project, as you know, is a significant investment in KTM railway operations since it will allow a ten-fold increase in train movements – making freight and intercity services more reliable and allowing the opportunity for commuter-rail services as well.
Date: 11th August 2011
Balfour Beatty Ansaldo Systems JV Sdn Bhd reported today that it has achieved over 20% progress in delivering the Systems Package of works for the Northern Double Tracking Project which runs from Ipoh to Padang Besar in Malaysia.
The Systems Package of works includes the signalling, communications and electrification of the railway line and is the last of the elements to be installed as part of the 329km double tracking project, which is due for completion in December 2013.
BBASJV’s Project Director, Conrad Fawcett, commented “With the majority of the design completed and shipments of materials now arriving, we are now turning our attention to the installation phase of the works. Our Engineering, Planning and Construction teams are working very closely with the Main Contractor, MMC-Gamuda Joint Venture Sdn Bhd, to ensure that we utilize every opportunity for early site access as this will benefit the project as a whole when our installation works are at peak.
We have established three operational depots along the route for material storage and plant maintenance, and we have our specialized plant ready for installation works once the tracks have been laid” offered Fawcett. “We had one or two issues in the early stages with development of design as one can expect in a project of this size and complexity. However these have been resolved and we are fast working towards total design approval.”
This project is part of a larger railway investment by Malaysia to create a modern and efficient double track railway connection between Johor Bahru and Padang Besar, with the long-term objective of establishing a Pan-Asian Link connecting Singapore to Kunming, China.
We have high hopes for this project, and also look forward to better communications & information sharing with the companies involved in the railway industry in Malaysia.
TRANSIT took note of this interesting letter by C.R. of Kuala Lumpur, who discusses the recent protest by the Railwaymen’s Union of Malaya (RUM), which included warnings of a “work-to-rule” campaign & potential disruption of Balik Kampung / Hari Raya Aidilfitri travel.
C.R. argues that it might be time to open up the Railway sector to increased competition.
TRANSIT will tell you what we think about the proposal, but first, read the letter:
TRANSIT took note of some very interesting articles about KTMB and Malaysia’s railway heritage, which is changing before our eyes with the Ipoh-Padang Besar & Seremban-Gemas Electrification & Double Tracking (EDT) Projects.
Heritage stations along the west coast of Malaysia are being replaced with modern structures. In some cases, aspects of the stations are being preserved. Sadly in other cases, stations are being completely dismantled & removed.
TRANSIT took note of this article in the Borneo Post which says that the Gemas-Johor Baharu electrified double tracking project is to be tendered out by year-end, according to the Transport Minister.
For those who do not know, the Gemas-JB electrification & double tracking project is the last stretch in the electrification & double tracking of all mainline rail on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
The other EDT projects are:
EDT for the Klang Valley from Rawang to Seremban, including the Port Klang Railway subdivision;
EDT from Rawang to Ipoh;
EDT from Sentul to Batu Caves;
EDT from Ipoh to Padang Besar;
EDT from Seremban to Gemas;
Completing the Gemas – JB stretch will allow ETS train service from Butterworth down to JB, as well as “commuter” rail service in the Iskandar – JB region of Johor.
1. Article: Flaming bus at depot (The Malay Mail, 2 August 2011) – A bus parked at its depot in Segambut unexpectedly burst into flames yesterday afternoon, shortly after the driver had finished his shift.
6. Article: Operator yet to relocate buses (NST, 31 July 2011) – A group of business operators in Bukit Indah, JB, are upset that Handal Indah Sdn Bhd, which runs the fleet of Causeway Link stage buses, has yet to relocate its buses from Jalan Indah 15/3 despite the issue being highlighted 8 months ago.
7. Letter: Cabbies have only themselves to blame (The Star, 1 August 2011) – Frustrated cab user of Ampang writes that cabbies should accept that their actions are the reason a coupon system exists.
8. Commentary: It’s possible to solve traffic woes (NST, 1 August 2011) – Fazlene Aziz comments on traffic solutions for the Klang Valley, arguing that while parking solutions may help a bit, improved public transport is the real solution.
9. Article: Thousands of cheap tickets on ETS till year end (The Star, 2 August 2011) – ETS Sdn. Bhd. is allocating 64,800 “koc 1 Rakyat” seats at a lower price (RM16) for grabs until the end of the year for the Ipoh – Kuala Lumpur Sentral route. Apparently there will be 30 seats per train priced at the lower rate.
That is the question that was running through the minds of TRANSIT members when we learnt that the KTM Railwaymen’s Union had written a letter to Prime Minister Najib Razak to protest the reappointment of Dr. Aminuddin Adnan as president of KTMB for a second 2 year term.
But now, the RMU has taken their concerns into the political arena, warning Prime Minister Najib that they will encourage their membership to not vote for BN in any upcoming election if these issues are not resolved.
TRANSIT took note of this announcement from Bernama about a serious disruption of KTM services because of a crane collapse at the Kuala Lumpur rail station.
Thank goodness no one was injured!
We note that although the incident happened early Saturday morning, even by the time of our late posting (Sunday morning), KTMB has not bothered to update their website or their twitter feed @twitktmb with information about what had happened. They did update their Facebook page at 7:52 am (more than 7 hours later), but that is not enough (and not easily noticeable for those who visit the regular website).
We learned of the disruption from another unofficial source, @ktmtu (KTM Traffic Updates) which is not affiliated with KTMB.