The proposal to construct Light Rail Transit (LRT) in the city is only in the planning stage and not yet finalised as a project.
The Mayor of Ipoh, Dato’ Rumaizi Baharin @ Md Daud said the plan within the 25-year period was made to ensure that his side would be prepared to develop the city with the facilities in question.
He further explained that there was no cost of RM14.5 billion as was hyped or announced by certain parties before.
“That’s not a project. I think people don’t understand the concept, but it’s included in the District Local Plan, which means we’re planning to hold the concept of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and LRT in the city of Ipoh.
“What we are doing is a form of planning and things can change in the period up to 2035, so we don’t know what the cost and model will be.
“Maybe it can change to the new technology of Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART) or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT),” he said.
Rumaizi said this at a press conference after completing the Ipoh City Council 2022 Jalur Gemilang Flag Launch Ceremony, at Persiaran Bandaraya on Thursday. This was after reporters asked him to comment on media reports regarding residents’ letters protesting and questioning the cost of LRT construction, which may reach RM14.5 billion and is feared to put a huge burden of debt on MBI.
He explained further that planning through the District Local Plan is important in determining the target area as well as preliminary planning.
“For example, if we want to plan to build a new airport, we must plan things like reserving land. After the planning is in place, we can allocate the land area and may be able to reduce the cost in some aspects.
“If someone wants to invest in the next 10 years, and we didn’t make an advance plan but suddenly we want to do it at that time, there will be land reclamation costs,” he said.
Taking the example of other cities such as Sarajevo in Bosnia that use trams, he said the population there was only around 450,000 and Ipoh was more numerous with 720,000 residents.
“If Sarajevo can live with trams why can’t we, even Sarajevo is now a tourist city.
“If we are ready with a strategy, the tourists who come are not only domestic but also overseas, especially from East Asia and perhaps Southeast Asia,” he added.
Yesterday, the media had reported that the proposal to create an LRT transport system in Ipoh will be implemented through the Private Financing Initiative (PFI) if the project is developed later.
Perak Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri Saarani Mohamad said that the state government does not have the ability to finance the implementation of the project which will certainly require high costs. Saarani said that the study of the project needs to be done in detail, especially from the aspect of the needs of the residents.
By Rosli Mansor Ahmad Razali