SERENDAH, Jan 13 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has urged railway companies to export their expertise abroad and look for businesses to better serve the country.
He said the government believes in exporting not only raw materials but also finished goods and expertise.
"We made the decision for an electrified double-track railway because trains previously could not move at high speed as we had only one line. Now we have two lines and I think in ASEAN, Malaysia is the only one that has electrified the rail line. But it is costly, so we'll have to do it part by part,” he told reporters during his visit to Dhaya Maju Infrastructure (Asia) Sdn Bhd's (DMIA) Serendah Rail Yard today.
Dhaya Maju LTAT Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between DMIA and the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT), is the contractor for the RM4.475 billion Klang Valley Double Track 2 (KVDT2) rehabilitation project.
Dhaya Maju is also the contractor for the RM1.41 billion KVDT1, which involves upgrading the Rawang-Salak Selatan and Sentul-Simpang Batu lines. As at June 30, 80.3 per cent of KVDT1 had been completed, with the project slated to be delivered next year, a slight delay from its earlier target.
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government re-negotiated the KVDT contract and brought the cost down by 15 per cent to the current price of RM4.475 billion from the original RM5.26 billion.
Asked if he was satisfied with the cost saving on the project, he replied: "If we save money but have to import (expertise) from others, there is no use. We need to learn. If we want to learn, we need to pay the cost.
"Initially, it may not be good; but over time, we (local firms) will improve and achieve the same standard as those in developed countries."
Dr Mahathir also acknowledged Malaysian companies’ efforts in improving their skills in the industry.
Meanwhile, DMIA chairman Tan Sri Mohd Azumi Mohamed said the company is exploring opportunities to export its expertise in highway and railway construction.
"We will leverage on the capabilities and competencies of our new Serendah Rail Yard in any construction, rehabilitation and completion of mega rail projects in the country and abroad.
"We are currently in discussion with an infrastructure company from Japan which invited us to collaborate with them on a railway project in Myanmar as a subcontractor. We have also been approached by a company from Thailand that offered us the opportunity to participate in a railway project there.
“However, we request that they give us some time as we are currently busy with the KVDT2 project,” he said.
The Serendah Rail Yard, a 30-acre facility worth RM400 million, houses state-of-art machinery and comprehensive equipment that enables DMIA to carry out new railway line projects and rehabilitation works as well as to actively engage in the future of mainline rail expansion in Southeast Asia.
DMIA has completed several projects in India, including the construction of the Malaysian High Commission complex in New Delhi as well as four major expressways in the states of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad, KVDT, Dhaya Maju, LTAT, Railway, Serendah Rail Yard