PETALING JAYA — October 30, 2018: It has been suggested that any plan to continue the currently-postponed third line of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) should include stations closer to residences to middle- and low-income neighbourhoods.
Centre for Governance and Political Studies (CENT-GPS) senior researcher Zaidel Baharuddin, in making the suggestion today, pointed out that these two groups may not fully benefit from the current MRT Sungai Buloh – Kajang (MRT SBK) line.
“The positions of the stations of MRT’s second line have been decided. The only avenue left is to alter the third line,” Zaidel said, while highlighting the current low ridership of MRT SBK.
Thus the stations of the third line should be aligned nearer to affordable housing neighborhoods such as those living in PR1MA and RumaWip projects.
Zaidel was at the launch of a report on affordability of homes surrounding MRT stations by CENT-GPS.
The third MRT line, shelved by the Pakatan Harapan government after the May 9 general elections, was to have been called the Circle Line which will loop the first two lines.
The three lines are part of the planned Klang Valley Integrated Transit System to be built in the hope of providing Malaysians, especially the middle (M40) and low (B40) income groups, easy access within the Klang Valley.
However, during a three-month study started in August, CENT-GPS discovered that the SBK line was serving 140,000 passengers a day, falling well short of the targeted 250,000.
According to Zaidel, the median price of houses located within a kilometer of the the bulk of SBK’s 25 stations were mostly unaffordable for the M40 and B40.
The only stations in which the M40 can afford properties within the radius are Kajang, Stadium Kajang, Batu Sebelas Cheras, Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, Sri Raya, Taman Connaught, Taman Pertama and Maluri.
The study limits the radius to a kilometer from the stations to avoid overlapping with other stations. Also, those living within it can reach the stations by walking 10 minutes.
The current median monthly income of Malaysia’s three household groups which total to 7.5 million are as follows: T20 – RM13,148; M40 – RM6,275 and B40 -RM3,000.
“When considering price per square feet, the median RM400 per sq.ft (which is around the M40 income) is surpassed after the Sri Raya station,” said Zaidel.
Everything from Taman Suntex towards Sungai Buloh (except Kampung Selamat) has no apartments below RM400,000 which is considered as affordable for a monthly M40 mortgage of RM1,700.
Perhaps what stood out the most was that the median prices in Sungai Buloh and Taman Mutiara stations were illogically very high. These stations are not considered traditional upscale neighborhoods.
Zaidel pointed out that the ridership of the SBK could be improved if public amenity centres were set-up within the more spacious stations. Such amenities include mini urban transformation centres and service centres of the Road Transport Department.