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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        2  March 2011

Raising light rail financing

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Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd plans to raise between RM5bil and RM10bil (US$ 2.4 billion) over the next five years via a bond sale to fund the light rail transit (LRT) extension.

About RM7bil is needed for the extension of the two LRT lines (Ampang Line and Kelana Jaya Line). A further RM3bil is required for infrastructure and other things like buses that provide feeder services for the integration of the urban transport system in the Klang Valley.

The first package for the LRT extension was announced in November, while the tender for the second package is under way. The tender closes in mid-April.

“We will be going to the market again after raising RM2bil in 2009. At this juncture we are still working out how much we need to raise over the next five years. It could be anything between RM5bil and RM10bil,” Prasarana group managing director Shahril Mokhtar said. “We are looking to raise bonds just like we did the last time.''

He said Prasarana decided to opt for bonds for future funding requirements owing to the good response to the earlier RM2bil bonds. However, Shahril could not say exactly when the bonds will be issued.

Prasarana is a wholly-owned unit of Minister of Finance Inc. It is the asset owner and operator of several public transport providers, namely the Ampang and Kelana Jaya lines, KL Monorail system, bus operations in the Klang Valley and Penang, as well as cable car services in Langkawi. Shahril said Prasarana expected to receive 470 new buses by the third quarter this year to add to its pool of 1,200 buses that provide feeder service to LRT stations in the Klang Valley.

Of the 470, about 70 are shorter buses measuring eight metres in length, which are suitable for narrower roads and could be used in residential areas. A standard bus is 12m in length.

“If the shorter buses work out well in residential areas, we will order more,'' he said, adding that each bus cost between RM400,000 and RM500,000.


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ASEAN  ANALYSIS

This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs  
04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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