Najib – Rails generate prosperity

Malaysia expects to invest another RM160 billion on rail development by 2020, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday. He said this at the launch of the Rail Business Asia Conference 2013 here.

He said since 1990, the government had invested more than RM50 billion in rail networks and related projects.  Once a dying industry, railroads had made a strong comeback because of their inherent efficiency, whether in terms of land usage, fuel consumption or transportation costs.

“In an era of scarcity and pressure on costs, there has been and will be a growing focus on efficiency, which plays to the strength of rail. There is also the realisation that railways don’t just move people and goods but also generate and spread prosperity, create jobs, open new markets and support economic growth.”

Najib also called for more training of skilled and specialised manpower to meet the industry’s needs, with about 130,000 jobs to be created by the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project alone.

He said trained workers were needed for research and development, the production of communications and signalling equipment, and construction of tracks, facilities and other infrastructure.