Sunday, November 22, 2009


This year is the 45th anniversary since the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen. The development of bullet train being a sustainable transportation mode to replace the private car, busses and conventional train symbolized the maturity and efficiency level of a country. Until last week, I was an ordinary layman from a soon but yet to be developed country, who never ride on the bullet train before in my whole life. (Msia aimed to become a developed country by 2200. Opps sorry , i mean 2020. Yes, i just said 2020) New high-speeed rail routes along linking mainland Europe such as Paris-Brussels-Cologne-Franfurt, have significantly improved the rail journey times through by-passing the relatively slow conventional routes along river valleys (David SPaven, 2006). Cant believe that the high speed rail technology has been exist for nearly half a century and we are still arguing wether or not to built a bullet train linking Kuala Lumpur to Singapore which will cost pproximately RM8.1 billion (USD 2.4 b). It was also the first year that Msia government rejected the proposed bullet train that link KL and Singapore (325km), reducing car travel time from 5 hrs to 90 mins. The conventional train takes 7.5 hours excluding time for immigration clearance. The 1 hr in-flight by air will take approximately 3-4 hrs if including the travel from city to airport and the immigration clearance.
Last Friday trip to Daejeon by Korea KTX (high speed rail) was a pleasant trip though it was too silent that it will be annoying if you start talking to your friend or wake-up by the announcement. The high speed rail enable passengerss travel to a far city and back to Seoul in the same day, saving time and increase productivity. The Korea KTX was opened in April 2004 between Seoul and Busan, using the technology based on the TGV (France). In 2004, Korea was the 8th country with trains operating at 300 km/h and only in the second in the Far East after Japan. Now Taiwan and China had join the league table with other player in the world such as Germany, Spain, Sweden, UK, Italy, USA, Finland and ect (Ryo Takagi, 2004).
I'm doing some research on the proposed bullet train mentioned above though it was rejected by the Msian government. I would think that it was a bad call since the initial cost will be supported by YTL Corporation who prepared the proposal and had successfully built another semi-high speed rail connecting KL to KL International Airport in a low cost. The reduce of road traffic will solve the congestion of the highway and save the government subsidies on the petrol beside other environment benefits. It is better to spend the money in the infrastructure especially in transportation that involving energy consumption saving than spending our taxpayers money onto the empty city of Putrajaya (new government ministry city) and its ever luxurious buildings which we seldom go. Do you think Msia can become a developed country like Korea in 2020? I am a lier if i say yes. The worst thing is everybody including i am starting to feel nothing about the speed of the KTX thinking that it should have been faster; and Msia is still using the ever slow KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu). A good choice if you plan to stay a nite in the train until reaching Spore in the morning with bed sleeper costing RM40 (USD 12), 10.5 hours journey. I need info on the statistics of number of passenger travel by cars, busses and train form KL to Singapore. Send the link or info to me if you have any. I have contacted both Singapore and Malaysia authorities. Though with negative outcome, the Spore side replied within 2 days and still no reply from Msian side in after 2 weeks. This is the difference of quality and efficiency. Now you know why it might take another 190 years for Msia to become a developed country and the developed countries like Japan, Korea and Spore will no longer be called developed but sustainable matured countries. Hmm... do i sound radical and only knew how to damage my own country's image? But dont you think a father will critics his son if he doesnt loves him? I would not say a thing if i dont care... Lets hope for the first bullet train in Msia when KTM evolute to KTX. ^^


  1. Mok, well written 'article' about this issue.

  2. Dear Marcus,

    Msian govt always got their priority wrong...spend $$$ on stupid project for the benefit of few cronies...Have added ur blog to my blog at http://yeo-innocreative.blogspot and How u find my blog? Happy blogging.

  3. RM8.1 billion is not a joke. The yearly interest alone is a big amount of money. But i think if the feasibility report submitted by YTL was approved as mentioned by the government, though the gov need to borne an amount of rental cost frm thr company yearly, we should give it a go. If you consider the rising of properties value in KL due to the fast&safe transport connection with Spore, it will be a steal and dont nee to think twice. Even a single RM1 raised per square feet will results in a few billions ringgit.