Malaysia is expected to spend an estimated RM50.2 billion (US$11,400 billion) on its Mass Rapid Transit 3 (MRT3) project, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said today.
Yes, you read that amount right and no, the billion ringgit project is only limited to the Klang Valley and not the whole of Malaysia.
That would make MRT3 the costliest rail project in Malaysian history on a per kilometer basis for the planned 51 kilometer line.
Zafrul said RM34.3 billion is expected for construction alone. Land acquisition and project management are estimated at RM8.4 billion and RM5.6 billion respectively. Another RM1.9 billion will be for other costs.
“However, the actual cost would be finalized after the open tender process is completed,” he added.
Zafrul, who responded in a parliamentary reply to Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil’s questions, did not answer Fahmi’s second query on whether the project would seek parliament’s approval.
According to Malaysiakini, it would cost the government nearly RM1 billion per kilometer to build the MRT3 line.
The MRT3 project was devised by ousted former premier Najib Abdul Razak. However, the tender was only announced under Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The former Pakatan Harapan administration had trashed the project for its high costs, but it was brought back after Ismail, the vice-president of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), a component party of the Barisan Nasional, took power.
MRT3 is a circular route that will connect the existing MRT, light rail transit (LRT), commuter rail system (KTM), and monorail lines to “complete” Kuala Lumpur’s urban rail network.