Having world-class projects put country on the map and open up economy

The Star, March 19, 2013

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s world-class infrastructure has not only put the country on the map, but it has also led to increased job creation, investment and domestic spending.

During the tenure of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the country built some of the world’s finest highways and ports as well as the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and the Sepang F1 circuit.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s infrastructure projects include the covered pedestrian walkways in the Klang Valley and the proposed high-speed rail project between Singapore and Kuala Lum-pur.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said having world-class infrastructure had opened up the nation’s economy.

In citing the KLCC – Pavilion elevated pedestrian walkway as an example, Dr Ng said seven million people had used it within the first three months since it was opened by Najib early last year.

A total of 31.9 million people had used the stretch in 2012.

“The walkway offers greater accessibility, comfort and security for shoppers. “It is very clear that our infrastructures have opened up the tourism industry,” she added.

Similar walkways will be built including the NKRA for Urban Public Transport proposing four skywalks and covered walkways in Kuala Lumpur, with construction expected to start this year.

They are Pudu Sentral Walkway (from Plaza Rakyat to Pasar Seni LRT stations), Bandaraya Walkway (linking Bandaraya LRT station to Sultan Ismail Skywalk), Wangsa Walk (connecting Wangsa Walk mall and Sri Rampai LRT station) and Wangsa Maju Walkway (from TAR college to Jusco Wangsa Maju with connection to Wangsa Maju LRT station).

Meanwhile, the high-speed rail link will reduce travel between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to a 90-minute journey and would comprise two services – express and transit.

The express service will connect Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, while the transit service will stop at smaller towns in Johor, Malacca and Negri Sembilan. Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the high-speed rail link would have a direct and indirect economic impact.

“Stations along the alignment will also have the opportunity to leverage on the improved connectivity offered by the high-speed service to attract not only investors and businessmen, but also visitors and tourists,” he said.

SPAD chief executive officer Mohd Nur Kamal Mohd Nur concurred, saying that besides fares, there would also be non-fare derived revenue such as property development in and around stations, integrated station complexes as well as retail spaces.