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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        10  February 2011

Malaysia's rapid transit takes shape

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About 150 kilometers long and costing a whopping RM36.6 billion (US$12.2 billion), the Kuala Lumpur Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) without doubt is Malaysia's largest infrastructure project thus far.

The construction of the project is scheduled to start this July with the first line from Sungai Buloh to Kajang, covering some 60km and with 35 stations running up to the city centre.

The proposed MRT project which is expected to be completed by 2020 is aimed largely at easing the public transport woes for those living in the so-called Greater Kuala Lumpur (Greater KL) area.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak embraced the term Greater KL when he announced the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) on Sept 21, 2010 that would transform Malaysia into a high-income economy by 2020.

Greater KL encompasses 279,327 hectares covering Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Ampang Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya, Shah Alam, Kajang, Klang, Sepang and Selayang.

The population of Greater KL is about six million people and the number is expected to rise to 10 million by 2020.

This high-speed and large-scale MRT rail project was revealed when the Prime Minister tabled the RM230 billion 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015) on June 10 last year.

The project, he said was in line with the Greater KL's National Key Economic Area (NKEA) to further enhance the city's public transportation network.

Improving public transportation is one of the six National Key Result Areas (NKRAs), which is a priority under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP).

Upon completion, this iconic project would cover a radius of 20km from the city centre and when fully operational would serve up to two million passengers per day.

The construction of bus and rail terminals is also expected to increase the public transport modal share in Greater KL from 12 percent in 2009 to 30 percent in 2015.


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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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