Union angry over Liow’s resolve to transfer railway assets

Liow-Tiong-LaiKUALA LUMPUR: The Railwaymen’s Union of Malaya (RUM) is angry with Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai for reaffirming his stand to transfer assets belonging to Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) to Railway Assets Corp (RAC).

The transfer of assets is part of the Railway Network Access Agreement (RNAA) that was inked in December 2016.

Edgemarkets.com said RUM described the RNAA as “the most stupid idea” and called on Liow to revoke it.

In a statement, RUM said Liow’s attitude in refusing to hear the grouses of RUM members was “very disappointing”.

“The union will go all out to oppose the move by the minister and will continue to do so until the RNAA is scrapped,” it added.

Liow had yesterday said the transfer of KTMB assets to RAC would liberalise the usage of the country’s 1,560km long railway tracks by allowing multiple rail operators to use the infrastructure, which stretches from Perlis to Johor.

According to the report Liow said this would spur more economic activities as the capacity utilisation of the tracks would increase to an optimal level from 40% currently.

Saying this argument was flawed, RUM added: “The union strongly feels that the services offered by KTMB alone is sufficient for its advancement, without the need for multiple rail operators to increase the capacity utilisation.”

Under the RNAA, KTMB is expected to transfer the ownership and maintenance of all its assets, which include lands, buildings, rolling stocks, bridges and related infrastructures to RAC.

KTMB, the 151-year-old government-owned railway firm, hopes the transfer of assets and liabilities to RAC will allow it to focus on enhancing railway services.

As at end-2015, KTMB’s liabilities stood at RM1.92 billion, versus assets of RM623.86 million, according to edgemarkets.com.