SUNGAI BULOH • The first section of Malaysia's MRT system for Greater Kuala Lumpur will be opened this Friday, the same week that Malaysia and Singapore are to sign an agreement to build the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) line.
The first mass rapid transit (MRT) line in Malaysia, it will have an initial 12 stations and travel between Sungai Buloh in Selangor to residential areas in Kuala Lumpur, including Bandar Utama and Damansara.
Each train will have four coaches that can carry 1,200 people in one go, The Star newspaper reported.
Malaysia's capital city, Kuala Lumpur, and its surrounding area called the Klang Valley, or Greater KL, is currently served by the light rail transit (LRT) system and Malayan Railways' inter-city Komuter line.
The Sungai Buloh-to-Kajang town MRT network, when fully completed next year at a total cost of RM22 billion (S$7.1 billion), will give commuters more incentive to leave their private vehicles behind when entering downtown KL, officials have said.
The MRT will have a total of 68 stations and cover a wider area than the LRT system with its 85 stations.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, the main mover of the MRT network, last Friday took several of his "online friends" on an MRT ride through four of the new stations.
He wrote on his blog that he wanted to take a closer look himself at the just-completed section.
"Along the way, we managed to have a casual chat on the direction of public transport in the country... especially on the effects and major impact that the MRT will have, and more importantly on the people's lifestyle as a whole," PM Najib wrote.
He said that feeder bus services at each station will boost connectivity to nearby residential and commercial areas. "I cannot wait till Dec 16 so that all of you can experience for yourself the future of national public transportation. Let's ride MRT!" he wrote.
Mr Najib and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong are to witness the signing of the agreement on the HSR this week. Construction of the 350km KL-Singapore railway is expected to start in 2018, with trains running by 2026.