KUALA LUMPUR: The KTM Employees Union today called for the railway industry to be run by professionals instead of political appointees, to reflect reform.
“The railway industry would be much better if it was handled by experts in railway matters,” said union president Abdul Razak Md Hassan.
“Experts will know how to expand the industry, and we would be able to compete with other countries.”
Speaking to reporters after his meeting with the Council of Eminent Persons at Ilham Tower today, he said in countries like Japan and Indonesia, experts monitored the industry, not political appointees.
“With experts, we may produce our own locomotives and wagons,” he added.
Abdul Razak, who has been union president for 20 years, said Malaysia had been buying costly railway sets from China but the materials were of inferior quality.
He said the government had spent more than RM5 billion on such railway sets.
“Why don’t we build our own industry? We could have spent the RM5 billion to build our own and even export to other countries.
“Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad believes we can develop our own car brand. We should have the same mindset with the railway industry,” he said.
Expand the industry with cargo services
Abdul Razak said KTMB’s locomotives were over 20 years old and not capable of providing good cargo services.
“If KTMB’s cargo services can be improved and expanded, it could cover transportation costs,” he said.
“The government has to help KTMB with its cargo services. We have railways in the east coast, but they are not being developed.”
He added that Malaysia’s railway cargo services could even reach China if they were adequately developed and expanded.