IPOH: The Ipoh–Kuala Lumpur high speed rail, which will only take 40 minutes of traveling between the two cities, is awaiting government finalization.
This may well be the first high speed rail project in the country, preceding the proposed Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high speed rail.
Perak infrastructure, energy, water and public transportation committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin Sin Chew Daily the state government had received a proposal from a conglomerate in China.
The high speed rail with a top speed of 280 km per hour is slower than the Jakarta-Bandung high speed rail at 350 km per hour, but will cut traveling time between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur to only 40 minutes.
The proposal, a private financial initiative, will need to secure the approval from the transport ministry as well as consent from the Selangor government before conducting a feasibility study, as the high speed rail will travel through Selangor to reach Kuala Lumpur.
The Perak state government is supporting the proposal.
Nizar said he hopes the project can start within the tenure of the Unity Government and will be completed by 2028.
It will likely be the first high speed rail for Malaysia, he said.
Currently the Electric Train Service (ETS) which travels at 140 km per hour, takes two hours and 38 minutes from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur, and a single-journey ticket costs between RM36 and RM42.
Rail service has become the major mode of public transport in Perak, and the Ipoh train station is the second busiest in the country after KL Sentral.
Ipoh station received more than 910,000 passengers last year.
More than 2.14 million passengers travelled by rail to Perak last year.
ETS tickets to Ipoh are sold out every weekend and tickets for additional train services are also snapped up fast according to Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook.
The first high speed rail in Southeast Asia, the Jakarta-Bandung high speed rail started operation on October 2. The three-hour journey is shortened to just 46 minutes.
According to reports, the Jakarta–Bandung high speed rail started work in 2016 at a cost of RM35 billion.