IPOH, Aug 17 — Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad said today the proposed light rail transit (LRT) project in Ipoh is only in the research process.
Saarani said that the LRT project will not be implemented any time soon in the city.
"The research is being done to find out whether there is a need for the LRT. Because, first it involves the train lines and second is the cost.
"The question now is whether the residents in Ipoh really need the LRT service,” he told reporters after attending the Amanat Cikgu Saarani’s academic and sport’s excellence incentives distribution at the Perak Darul Ridzuan Building.
Saarani explained that Ipoh is not like Kuala Lumpur where there is heavy traffic flow, more vehicles, and limited parking spaces.
"Therefore, the city needs the service of LRT. But in Ipoh, the traffic flow is still okay and parking spaces are not a problem. Even shopping malls also have ample parking spots.
"Maybe in the future or when we talk about the long term, there might be a need for LRT service in Ipoh, but the research has to be done now especially as it involves range. The rail tracks might crossover people’s houses, in the middle of flats and so on,” he said.
Saarani also said the state government does not have the financial capability to build the LRT.
"The LRT project needs to be built by private the sector via the private finance initiative (PFI).
"And of course, the private sector needs the research to see whether its investment will be worth it or not. The investment needs to produce profit as they need to get back the money invested,” he said.
The LRT project was among the several initiatives proposed in the Ipoh City Local Plan Draft 2035 last year.
The proposed LRT system comprises two routes of 16 stations each, with four common stations or interchanges.
The Meru Raya-Ipoh-Batu Gajah route covers 30km while the Bandar Sunway-Ipoh-Simpang Pulai sector stretches for 28km with a service frequency of six minutes.
The stations for the first route are at Meru Raya, Jelapang, Manjoi, Silibin, Medan Kidd, main station, UTC Ipoh, Pasir Puteh, Pasir Pinji, Falim, Menglembu, Pengkalan, Station 18, Lahat, Batu Gajah Perdana and Batu Gajah.
The stations for the second route are at Bandar Sunway, Tambun, Ipoh Garden, Stadium, Hospital, Medan Raya, main station, Maju Rapat, Medan Gopeng, Gunung Rapat, Taman Chempaka, Ampang and Simpang Pulai.
According to the infographic issued by Ipoh City Council, the LRT service will link major towns within the city and is expected to be a preferred mode of transport for local residents.