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Friday, 9 June 2017

(The Star) Opening of MRT phase two a big step forward, says Najib



PUTRAJAYA: The dream of a complete public transportation network takes a huge leap towards reality with the second phase of the 51km Sungai Buloh-Kajang mass rail transit (MRT) system set to open on July 17.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who announced this yesterday, said he picked the special date of 17.7.17 as it was indeed a very special occasion.

“An efficient public transportation system is vital for a country’s growth and productivity.

“We need to connect cities to cities and to the rural areas, and ensure accessibility mainly to those who depend on public transportation,” the Prime Minister said here when launching three major documents under the National Development Plan to help the country cope with increasing urbanisation.

The 23km first phase of the MRT, connecting 12 stations from Sungai Buloh to Semantan, opened last December. Phase Two stretches over 19 more stations to complete the line in Kajang.

The MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang line is the ninth rail transit line and the second fully automated and driverless rail system in the Klang Valley.

Najib said the MRT line, upon completion, will benefit some 500,000 commuters daily.

He said other proposed projects such as the High Speed Rail between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, East Coast Rail Link and Pan Borneo Highway would further expand the transportation network and spur growth.

Three major documents under the National Development Plan have been launched to help the country cope with increasing urbanisation.

On the documents, Najib said the Third National Physical Develop­ment Plan, Second National Urbanisation Plan and National Rural Physical Planning Policy will act as the main reference point for agencies handling development programmes.

He said the national urbanisation rate was expected to hit 77% by 2020, and 85% by 2040.

“The rise in the number of urban dwellers will surely put pressure on the capacity of infrastructure, utilities, community facilities, housing, services and food.

“As a result, the number of Malaysians living in rural areas is expected to reduce to 23% by 2020 and only 15% by 2040.

“We need to strengthen the competitiveness of the rural economy, mainly in attracting high value investments and creating a network of economic activities between rural and urban areas.

“I am confident these issues are being considered and addressed in the preparation of the three documents,” he added.