RM300m for 1km of rail line

By Patrick Lee, FMT

PETALING JAYA: It costs more than RM300 million to build one kilometre of railway track here. In China, however, the cost is much lower – at less than RM15 million for the same length of railway.

In Parliament this week, PKR-Telok Kemang MP Kamarul Bahrain Abbas asked the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak why the 150km Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit needed a budget of more than RM50 billion.

He compared this with the RM15 billion that was used to build the 1,140km-long line from Golmud in Qinghai Province, Western China, to Lhasa, Tibet.

In a written response, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz said that it was difficult to compare the two lines.

“The comparison of costs between two different systems without detailed information is very difficult and would not give the right picture,” he said.

However, Nazri said that the vast difference in costs between the two lines could be due to:

  • the period in which the lines were built;
  • track alignments above or below the ground;
  • the track’s location, which was dependent on the population density in the area; and
  • the system’s configuration due to size and complexity.