New Business Model for KTMB Freight

KTM Berhad Logo
KTM Berhad Logo

New business model is being proposed for KTMB Freight, the most profitable division in KTM Berhad as reported by Bernama.

The proposal, made by railway workers union, is championing the cause of rejecting Malaysian Mining Corporation (MMC)’s bid to invest up to RM 1 billion in KTMB Freight division. The main concern is if MMC takes over KTMB and suffer losses, employees would lose the benefits the they are currently enjoying such as bonuses, allowances, quarters and healthcare. Their proposal is to allow other private operators to use KTMB existing rail lines with their own rolling stock.

KTM YDM4 Diesel Locomotive
KTM YDM4 Diesel Locomotive

We think the step to attract private operators to use KTMB existing railroad network and paying tolls directly to KTMB will generate added revenue. Furthermore, the major constraint suffered by KTMB now is the limited number of rolling stock. In our opinion, we think the government should invest more in KTMB by providing them with reasonable number of rolling stock, in line with the ongoing double tracking project. KTMB’s current market share in cargo shipment of the country is really low with just about two to five percent.

With the promising progress of the double tracking project, we hope that KTMB will invest more on its cargo as well as passenger sector. This move will enable a more profitable KTMB and fulfilling the needs of commuters and commercial sectors.



Kit Siang, meter gauge is enough for the time being.

Kit Siang's Blog Screenshot
Kit Siang’s Blog Screenshot

Kit Siang’s attitude (via a post published on his official blog) towards Malaysian Electrified Double Tracking Project (EDTP) is skeptical. According to the post, it is not justifiable to spend about RM 9 billion on the project simply because our trains run on meter gauge rails and cannot move as fast as the ones on standard gauge rails.

His argument on inability of trains to move fast along meter gauge is flawed. He might forget about the terrain nature of Malaysia which prohibits the usage of standard gauge rails, especially around hilly areas. He might also overlooked the fact that turning the whole inter-city railroad service from narrow gauge to standard gauge is extremely expensive, especially this will also include the exorbitant cost of modifying, if not replacing our current narrow-gauge rolling stock.

He might also forget the fact that our trains also run through the border to Thailand, which also uses meter gauge. Changing to standard gauge will adversely affect our freight services, which accounts a significant portion of revenue to our national railway company, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) [2]. Of note, meter gauge has been here for a long time and it is a de facto standard for Southeast Asia railway network. Decision to change our railroad system (which is currently connected to neighboring countries) cannot be made single-handedly. Easier said than done.

The standard-gauge-run Acela Express, the only high-speed train service in the United States has an awesome top speed, which stands at 240 km/h. However, its average speed is only at 110 km/h due to local regulations in some stretches of its route and also due to geographical and infrastructure limitations. High speed trains are possible if the railroads are made away from general population due to high noise produced. Given our current layout, which often crosses cities and villages, it is not feasible to have such a high speed rail network as an alternative to EDTP.

Malaysia is paving its way towards better railroad service. With the introduction of double-tracked railway between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur, a new KTM service called ETS (Electric Train Services) was introduced, offering a premium service with comfy fleet of trains with various amenities. The service might not be as perfect as the ones offered in some other countries but we need to be aware that we are paving our way towards betterment. ETS has top speed of 140 km/h and offers only two-hour journey between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh (non-stop). This is actually faster than cars (did I mention it is safer?).

Let us not forget that we HAVE ALREADY BEEN USING STANDARD GAUGE in our newer rail systems, such as LRT (both Ampang and Kelana Jaya Line) and KLIA Ekspres. The reason why we stick to meter gauge for inter-city rail system is due to the integration of our freight and passenger services to neighboring countries. Therefore, we can see that the current administration is able to realize the benefits of having standard gauge railways for speed and stability.

The EDTP project might have its flaws but by simply complaining without even care to seek solution is worse. Reading their comments about. This is most probably not written by Kit Siang but I write this response because the post resembles his viewpoint, unless he states otherwise. The current government is not perfect at all but that does not indicate everything they are doing is wrong. Consider doing some homework before complaining (and not giving specific solutions).



  1. Inter-city rail service in Malaysia uses 1-meter long narrow gauge while most other parts in the world
  2. KTM Berhad depends a lot on freight services to ensure its sustainability in business. KTM Intercity service is best known for their extremely cheap rates. This does not simply happen because KTM is generous. It is a company. It spends money on maintaining trains and stations and it needs every cent of them, be it from government’s initiative or fare collection from its users. Since the fare system barely gives them profit, they need KTM Freight to survive.

RapidKL bus crash – 14th July 2009

On July 14th 2009, a U80 RapidKL bus from Shah Alam crashed onto Federal Highway’s motorcycle lane in Kuala Lumpur. Nevertheless, the driver only suffered from minor injuries and received outpatient while there are several people in the bus were injured badly.

A recall by one of the victims can be read here.

LANDASAN perspective

yes, such accidents do happen. While what happens can be said as parts of God’s plan (Islam and Christian supposedly have the same viewpoint in this), we should also understand that there is a urgent need for us to learn the lesson, albeit in hard way, and take necessary actions.

First of all, as one of RapidKL’s users, I found out that some of the times the bus drivers tend to drive the bus faster than most vehicles on the highway. Sure, most of them will deny this. By the way, RapidKL can obtain more accurate answers for this matter from GPS device attached (if there is any) and also from avid public transport users. Thus, actions can (actually) be taken against bus drivers who drive the bus in an unethical way.

Some of us might put the blame on the troublemaker vehicle (the one that allegedly caused the bus to swerve to the roadside). It might be true also as some of the passengers admit that they saw the vehicle speeding beside the bus just before the crash. Hmmm, that is another option.

Some blame the barriers at roadside are not strong enough to withstand extreme crashing force from the bus. That one I can say its true. Possible causes: Malaysia is not rich enough to purchase extra-strength road barriers, Extre-strength road barriers might harm road users, or Extra-strength road barriers is not practical to install.

The mystery remains unsolved.