PM: Efficient public transportation will ensure economic growth

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak opened the Kelana Jaya and Ampang LRT route extensions on Thursday and said it would be a catalyst for the nation’s economic growth especially in the Klang Valley.

The Prime Minister said an effective public transportation system in major cities was the pulse of the economic growth of a nation.

A study conducted by Bank Negara found that traffic congestion in cities could result in a 2% decline in Gross Domestic Product.

“If we have efficient public transportation and can reduce traffic congestion, then the GDP growth can rise by 2%,” he said when opening the LRT route extension at the Putra Heights LRT station in Subang Jaya near here.

Najib said the route extension, which was started in 2011, was a high-impact economic project and a study showed a 25% rate of return.

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As such, he said, soon after assuming the national leadership in 2009, he made the development of a more efficient public transportation system a major focus.

“So, under the NKRAs (National Key Result Areas), we decided that public transportation must be given high priority,” he said.

“Today, we are all witness to the fact that the Government of today has delivered to the people of Malaysia,” he said.

He said there had been a vacuum in terms of investment and there was an unintegrated system that could not meet the needs of a modern city as well as worsening traffic congestion.

The Prime Minister said the RM8bil public transportation integrated system was a government initiative intended for the well-being of Klang Valley residents and visitors.

He added that with a better public transportation system, the Government targeted a rise in public transportation users from the current 21% to 40% by 2030.

A total of 25 new LRT stations went into operation Thursday on the Kelana Jaya and Ampang alignment, among them Puchong Perdana, Puchong Prima, Ara Damansara, Subang Jaya, USJ 7, Awan Megah and Putra Heights.

Najib said the extension route which passed through highly populated areas such as Kinrara, Puchong and Subang Jaya would propel these urban centres into new economic growth areas.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Land Public Transport Commission chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa were also present at the event. – Bernama