GEMAS-JB RAIL LINE DELAY EXPLAINED
It is due to valueadded measures, says exco man
ISSUES related to the coordination of infrastructure that were supposed to be built, and relocation of residents have caused a delay in the Electrified double-trackplans ing project of the railway line between Gemas and Johor Baru.
Johor Public Works, Rural and Regional Development Committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad confirmed that there was a delay due to “added value” measures put in place following meetings held between the Transport Ministry, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, state government representatives and other stakeholders. These meetings revealed, among others, a need to review construction of several underpasses and overhead bridges that were supposed to be built in Kluang and Johor Baru to facilitate traffic flow in those areas. Hasni said other issues also cropped up involving some residents who were supposed to be relocated in the land acquisition exercise for the railway line expansion.
Hasni told the New Straits Times the project was still on, and that construction work start within the next month.
“There were issues discussed in meetings between the Transport Ministry and state government, of which I was involved, and among the issues raised was the delay in the project’s implementation.
“We know that 50 per cent of the contractors must be local contractors.
“They (contractors) have not received their scope of work because of a few value-added measures that are going into the initial design (of the project),” Hasni said.
Citing an example, he said there would be improved designs for underpasses, as well as overhead bridges, dotting the doubtracking railway line in Kluang and Johor Baru.
“The first design outlined that several underpasses would be built in Kluang, but these were deemed to potentially cause more traffic congestion in Kluang town.
“Secondly, there were requests from stakeholders to bring forward the time to build two overhead bridges in Taman Melodies, Johor Baru, instead of its original plan to build them at the end of overall construction period. This led to amendments in work schedule,” he said.
“There was a delay, which was supposed to have taken about two to three months to be resolved, but these dragged on to six months.
“If you get back to me next month, I predict that the project could have likely started (with its construction),” said Hasni.
He said the relocation exercise for residents along the railway track to allow for buffer zones to be built had also hit a snag when a small number of residents did not adhere to the exercise.
“For instance, a majority of the squatters in Kluang involved in the relocation exercise have moved out, but several of them are still there.
“Despite being agreeable to the compensation offered, they do not want to move to the designated place as they prefer to move to a place of their choice.
“In this regard, the authorities had to find an amicable and winwin solution for all,” he said.
The RM9 billion Gemas-Johor Baru electrified double-tracking project was supposed to begin construction on Dec 1 last year, based on a previous statement given by Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
Datuk Hasni Mohammad