Railway union calls for KTMB to increase freight services to gain more revenue

Railwaymen Union of Malaysia president Razak Md Hassan says KTMB will continue to incur losses if it does not diversify its operations which mainly focuses on passenger transport. — AFP pic
Railwaymen Union of Malaysia president Razak Md Hassan says KTMB will continue to incur losses if it does not diversify its operations which mainly focuses on passenger transport. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 ― Railwaymen Union of Malaysia (RUM) president Razak Md Hassan has called for Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) to improve its freight services as a means to increase its revenue.

In an interview with The Malaysian Insight, Razak said the railway operator will continue to incur losses if it does not diversify its operations which mainly focuses on passenger transport.

“Our fares are stagnant and are not bringing in revenue, as fares and operations come under the purview of the government.

“If we have more locomotives for cargo, then we will be able to generate revenue,’’ he reportedly said, stating further that the total revenue generated from cargo for 2018 was RM128 million.

“The cargo trains are doing an average of 30 trips a day. Last year alone, they carried six million tonnes of goods.

“If we have 30 more new trains with 1,200 cars for cargo then we can generate more than RM260 million,” Razak was quoted saying.

Razak said the union had already sent its proposal to the previous Barisan Nasional government but it proved to be fruitless.

KTMB had recorded an accumulated loss of RM2.8 billion as of December 31 last year, according to Series 2 of the Auditor-General's Report 2018.

Among the audit findings, where the loss was due to, among others, KTMB not given the freedom yet to make its own decision, particularly on the company's operations and usage of assets.

Razak then urged the Ministry of Finance, Transport Ministry and KTMB board to consider the union’s proposal for more trains and increase in freight services.

“One of our suggestions is to lease trains from other countries. Another way is to have a smart partnership with the private sector.

“However, if any deal is to be made, KTMB must have 51 per cent of the agreement. KTMB must also be the sole operator and we reject any proposal for a second operator,” he said.

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