KTMB's DMU purchase aboveboard, reasonable

Radzak Abdul Malek

Modified 18 Nov 2009, 9:08 am

I refer to media reports about KTM Bhd’s purchase of Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) from Spain. As the former KTMB managing director (MD), I feel compelled to clear the air over some of the inaccuracies contained in these reports.

Firstly, I want to put on record that the DMUs were bought under the government’s stimulus package. The purchase was necessary to overcome serious capacity issues involving KTM Komuter’s services.

During my tenure as KTMB MD, one of my main priorities was to resolve the problem of insufficient trains, faced by the public who used the KTMB Komuter services, especially in the Klang Valley. With public complaints mounting, it was a problem that needed to be resolved fast.

With funds available from the stimulus package, the Transport Ministry quickly proposed that the used DMUs be bought as a stop-gap measure. We bought used DMUs and not Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) because there were no used EMUs readily available anywhere in the world then.

Purchasing new sets would require a waiting time of between two-and-a-half to three years – a delay KTMB can ill-afford as it aspired to provide the best services to the public, especially those using its Komuter services.

It is also not true that I went against the KTMB board’s decision not to purchase the DMUs. While the board had earlier turned down the proposal to buy the DMUs, the decision was taken before I joined KTMB as its MD and I was completely in the dark over the decision.

Besides, at that time, KTMB had very little choice but to urgently overcome capacity problems following a surge in demand for its Komuter services.

On the purchase price of the DMUs, the Transport Ministry had in a statement on Nov 11 clarified that each set of the DMU cost Euro 1.492 million per set, cheaper than the units bought by Costa Rica, at Euro two million per set.

Claims that the sets bought by KTMB were more expensive are grossly untrue.

Lastly, I wish to make it very clear that the purchase of the DMUs was above board and made in the best interests of KTMB and the public who use its Komuter services. Insinuations or claims otherwise are grossly untrue and malicious.