KL's week-old MRT line hit by vandals

Gouges have been found on the benches in at least four underground stations and wall panels have been vandalised as well. Malaysia's MRT Corp has spent thousands of ringgit to repair the damage.
Gouges have been found on the benches in at least four underground stations and wall panels have been vandalised as well. Malaysia's MRT Corp has spent thousands of ringgit to repair the damage.PHOTO: PENGURUSAN MRT

KUALA LUMPUR • It has been only a week since Malaysia's newest subway line opened, and its owner MRT Corp has already forked out thousands of ringgit to repair damage caused by vandals.

Dents were found on specially designed benches in at least four underground stations. Cigarette butts, a broomstick and a broken spotlight were discarded on the roof of a sheltered walkway. Even a toilet bowl in facilities for the handicapped was not spared.

According to The Star Online, the acts of vandalism have marred the image of the RM21 billion (S$6.7 billion) public transport project linking downtown Kuala Lumpur to housing estates on the north-western and south-eastern periphery of the capital.

The first phase from Sungai Buloh to the Semantan station in Kuala Lumpur opened last December, and the second phase connecting Semantan to Kajang began operations on July 17.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, who officially launched the line last week, described the MRT as "a world- class project".

Mr Najmuddin Abdullah, strategic communications and stakeholder relations director of Mass Rapid Transit Corporation, said the MRT was a first-class facility, but pointed out that if Malaysians did not have a "first-class mentality", MRT Corp would have to "waste a lot of money and time unnecessarily to do the repair works".

He said a closer examination showed that the gouges on the benches in at least four underground stations at Muzium Negara, Pasar Seni, Merdeka and Bukit Bintang were not accidentally caused by bags or other items.

He said they were most likely acts of vandalism, adding that these benches, built based on winning entries in a design competition, stand out and become attractive targets for vandals .

MRT Corp is the developer and owner of the 31-station Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line, while Rapid Rail is the operator of the line.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2017, with the headline 'KL's week-old MRT line hit by vandals'. Print Edition | Subscribe