MRT – Towards A Better Life

Walking 21 kilometers on the viaduct from Taman Pertama in Cheras to the Kajang station to ensure workers worked safely was part of my life in the MRT project
According to the logic of empty-headed Syed Saddiq, “Criticisms levied against you show that the other party is afraid of what you are doing right.”

The Mass Rapid Transit, a project that is to be a total game-changer, came under a lot of criticism from the Opposition.  Despite the negative campaign to discourage the masses from enjoying the benefits of the Najib Razak administration’s project, Phase One opened in December 2016 with trains plying from Sungai Buloh to Semantan. Within 27 days of opening,  student Miss Ng Zhi Wei became its one-millionth rider.

Ng Zhi Wei became the one-millionth passenger on the MRT on 11 January 2017, 27 days after opening (cource: MRT Malaysia)
Come Monday, 17 July 2017, Prime Minister Najib Razak will officiate the opening of Phase Two of the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line (SBK Line) that will allow riders to continue the journey all the way to Kajang instead of just ending the journey at Semantan.  At 4pm, the gates will be opened for that.

The opening signals the end of the construction, testing and commissioning phase of the project that had lasted six years.  The project was announced in June 2010 and approved by the government in December of the same year, while construction began in July 2011.  Up until June 2017, the total accumulated manpower for the project was 435,774 persons while the number of manhours poured into the project up until June 2017 stood at more than 103.5 million.  I was one of them.

To learn the examples of how the MRT project can benefit the people including the removal of 160,000 vehicles off the roads in the Klang Valley, you can read that up in a previous article of mine.  Web portal The Mole carries a further clarification by MRT Malaysia on the issue.  In today’s artice, I just want to take you on a virtual ride on board the MRT from Semantan to Kajang to experience what’s in store for you after 4pm on Monday.

The first underground station on the Kajang-bound train is the Muzium Negara station that connects you to the Muzium Negara (of course), hotels St Regis, Hilton Sentral and Le Meridien, as well as the nearby office buildings.

The Muzium Negara will see an increase in the number of visitors
Muslim riders to and from the Muzium Negara station also have access to the prayer room at the Hilton Sentral. There is an exit connected to the link to the KL Sentral.

The exit leading to the prayer room at the Hilton Sentral
The Muzium Negara station also connects riders from the LRT Kelana Jaya line, the ERL (KLIA/KLIA2), the KL Monorail, as well as the KTM Komuter to the destinations offered by the MRT SBK line.

Back inside the station, the columns are adorned with pictures of things in the past.  Each MRT station showcases what its name stands for.

A photo of a locomotive which you can see in real life at the Muzium Negara
Next stop is the Pasar Seni station where riders are connected to the Klang Bus Station, Petaling Street (Chinatown), Pasar Seni (Central Market), Pudu Sentral, Dayabumi, Masjid Negara, the old KL Railway Station and the Majestic Hotel which are all within walking distance.

The MRT Pasar Seni station is connected to the LRT Pasar Seni station
When you walk towards Chinatown, or if you are on your way down to the MRT trains, you will not miss this view of the park outside the station.

View of the park outside the MRT station
On the concourse level of the Pasar Seni station, take a moment to view the maps of the developments through time in the vicinity of the Gombak river which cuts through the city near Pasar Seni.  Being a fan of the history of Kuala Lumpur, I spent some time looking at the maps.

Mid 19th century development
Early 20th century
Mid 20th century (mind the step-ladder and pail of tools. Final touches were being put here)
Early 21st century
Next station is where I think many will flock to just to see this wall:

The Rukunegara (National Principles) wall on the concourse level of the Merdeka station
Aptly named as it is located in the vicinity of Stadium Merdeka where the Independence celebration took place on 31 August 1957, this station also connects riders to the Stadium Negara, Victoria Institution, Malaysian Basketball Association (MABA) stadium, and the southern end of Chinatown.

Najib Razak was here on the 12 July 2017 where he spend a few moments at the Jalur Gemilang (National Flag) wall that depicts the Tunku during the moment he shouted “Merdeka!” on that historical morning.

The two visionaries
The Rukunegara was formulated and instituted by royal proclamation on 31 August 1970 in reaction to the racial clashes that killed many the year before.  It is being recited in schools during assembly, but I am not too sure if it is still being done, or if anything is done to explain to the pupils what each principle stands for.  As evident nowadays, we have begun to see that our society has lost its cohesiveness, blatant disregard for the rule of law, growing disbelief in God, and no loyalty to King and Country except if money can be made from the country.

We Her Peoples uphold the pledge of the five principles of the Rukunegara
Next stop will be the favourite of the ladies because of this:

See where you exit
The Bukit Bintang MRT station’s entrance/exit is right in front of Lot 10 and connects riders to the KL Monorail and the Bukit Bintang shopping heaven.  Urban photography enthusiasts too would love this station because of the view it offers.

Bukit Bintang/Sultan Ismail junction and the KL Monorail
The station itself is bathed in vibrant colours, giving you a taste of what can be found on the street level.

MRT Bukit Bintang station
Next station is the Tun Razak Exchange where the Islamic Financial hub will be once completed.  This station also connects riders to the Indonesian embassy, Wisma Technip, JCorp, RHB headquarters, Pasar Rakyat and Zouk.

TRX station and its Islamic motif
There are two other underground stations namely the Cochrane station which is nestled within the Jalans Cochrane, Shelly and Peel rectangle, and is just across from the Cheras IKEA, and also the Maluri station which is next to AEON Maluri and the LRT Ampang line.

One other favourite station would be the Stadium Kajang station, which is the penultimate stop for the Kajang-bound train.  This station is within walking distance to three of my favourite satay joints namely Gerai Sidek Hj Rono (Stall No.2 at the Medan Sate in front of the Kajang Metro Plaza, Satay Emas at the Medan Sate next to the station, and of course the most commercialised of them all Satay haji Samuri next to the Kajang stadium.

Satay Emas offers 19 types of satay! Truly a satay heaven!
My only complaint is that both Medan Sate are in bad condition.  The Majlis Perbandaran Kajang should do something about it now that riders from the northern Klang Valley and potentially all the way from Tanjung Malim and Gemas have raill access to these places.

And imagine now the number of businesses, old and new, that would benefit from the MRT SBK line. Not forgetting how much riders can save commuting to work starting on the 18 July 2017 than to drive, as posted by this person below:


It has been proven that the Najib Razak administration is doing all it can to not let the global economic slowdown or the rising costs of living affect the rakyat and improve businesses as well as job opportunities that have been out of reach of many. Already office buildings have sprout like mushrooms along the MRT SBK line.

And when you leave Kajang taking the Sungai Buloh bound train, don’t forget to enjoy the view. JOM NAIK MRT!

The view from the Taman Midah station on the Sungai Buloh-bound train

Real Growth For The East Coast

Graphic courtesy of The Star

The first rail line was opened in 1885 running between Port Weld and Taiping.  The line to the east coast running between Gemas and Tumpat was only completed in 1931, by passing major towns such as Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu and Kota Bharu.

For decades after that there was no real growth in terms of communications in the east coast.

As a punishment to the people of the east coast for not voting in the Barisan Nasional, aid to Kelantan was curbed and was changed into the form of ‘Wang Ihsan‘ in 1990, and the East Coast Highway terminated near Kuantan because Barisan Nasional was ousted by the people of Terengganu in 1999.

Najib Razak changed all that.

Phase 3 of the East Coast Highway which will terminate at Kota Bharu will commence during the 11th Malaysian Plan (2016-2020), as well as the East Coast Rail Link, a new rail link cutting through green fields.

The first phase will see the Klang Valley connected to Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu in the second phase and Kota Bharu and Wakaf Bharu in the third and final phase.


Announcing at the handover ceremony of the Ganchong Water Treatment Plant, he said that the GDP of the state of Pahang would increase by 1.5 percent when the ECRL comes online.

The Opposition as usual is opposed to anything that is good for the people if it comes from the government.

PAN’s Mujahid Yusof Rawa, for instance, questioned how it will benefit the local economy – and you do not need to be a member of Parliament let alone a rocket scientist to figure out the answer.

The ECRL will act as a land bridge for goods coming from the west coast going to especially Shenzen in China through Kuantan port, and similarly goods from the east coast get sent to the Middle East and India through Port Klang.

This land bridge would also allow goods from the eastern part of the globe be sent to the western part through these two ports without having to circumnavigate the Singapore strait.

This cuts down the over-reliance on the Strait of Malacca. Today, more than 80 percent of China’s energy needs pass through that narrow waterway.

So if you imagine it takes just four hours for goods to be transported by a lorry from Kota Bharu to Port Klang using the ECRL as compared to seven hours using the Gua Musang way or nine hours via the East Coast highway, you would be able to imagine the kind of economic growth the east coast states would stand to benefit from the ECRL.

No longer would SME or heavy industries have to be centred in the Klang Valley where the costs of land and living are far higher compared to in Kelantan and Terengganu. More jobs would be created and the luxury gap lessened tremendously.

The time for goods to be transported from Shenzen to Port Klang would be 30 hours lesser than having to sail them around Singapore.

Cost issues aside, this new network will create new alternative routes to boost trade for Asean, with Malaysia as the base; and why this has to be taken seriously is because the Chinese have a direct interest in the (Kuantan) port and the rail link,” said Mr G. Durairaj, managing director of maritime and logistics consultancy PortsWorld.

Already Kuantan port is home to several petrochemical companies such as the BASF-PETRONAS Chemicals. 

The port has also attracted RM8.9 billion worrh of investments including a RM3.5 billion steel facility.

The integrated steel mill will occupy a 287ha site – half the size of Singapore’s Sentosa island – and have an annual production of 3.5 million tonnes.

Imagine the size of investments that the ECRL could bring into the east coast states. Would you now question the benefits the ECRL would bring?