Academics meet Transport Minister to discuss innovation in railway industry

From left: Prof Khoo, Chong, YB Anthony Loke, Dr Chua, Dr Lee and Hoo

Malaysia’s Minister of Transport, YB Anthony Loke Siew Fook had a meeting with UTAR Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES) academics on 16 March 2023 to discuss a new proposal for the development of power rail in Malaysia and other countries in the Asia Pacific region. The meeting took place from 3pm to 4pm at Malaysia Parliament House, Kuala Lumpur.

Academics who attended the meeting were Centre for Railway Infrastructure and Engineering (CRIE) Chairperson Assoc Prof Ir Dr Chua Kein Huat, Ir Prof Khoo Hooi Ling, Dr Lee Yong Hong and Hoo Dick Sang. They were also accompanied by UTAR Industry Research Advisor and Director of Railway Solution, Asia Pacific Region of REHAU Polymer Sdn Bhd Andrew Chong.

At the meeting, Dr Chua shared about CRIE members’ recent visit to REHAU, Germany for the training on power rail technology and MoU signing, while Andrew Chong shared about the establishment of Asia Pacific Power Rail Design Centre. Andrew Chong stated that the idea to establish an Asia Pacific Power Rail Design Centre would provide technical support and expertise for the development of power rail systems in Malaysia and other regional countries. The meeting also witnessed CRIE members presenting a comprehensive plan for the establishment of the Power Rail Design Centre, which would focus on the development of sustainable power rail systems that can support the transportation needs of the region. The proposed centre will be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and a team of experienced engineers, designers, and technicians from Rehau, who will work together to develop innovative solutions for the region’s transportation needs.

YB Anthony Loke expressed his support for the establishment of the Power Rail Design Centre, stating that it would be an excellent initiative for the region’s transportation industry. He also stated that the Ministry of Transport (MOT) would provide all necessary support for the implementation of the project. UTAR CRIE representatives expressed their gratitude towards YB Anthony Loke for his support and pledged their commitment to make the Asia Pacific Power Rail Design Centre a reality. The proposed centre is expected to create new job opportunities for local engineers and technicians, as well as support the development of Malaysia’s transportation infrastructure, which will contribute to the country’s economic growth. For the next plan, CRIE will meet the CEO of Prasarana and work together with them closely in facilitating the implementation of the project.

The frequent breakdown of metro services in Malaysia has raised public concern about the reliability and safety of metro services. During the meeting, preventive measures for future breakdown of LRT were also proposed. On top of that, a project to retrofit the existing diesel-electric locomotive owned by KTMB into battery-operated locomotives was also proposed. The project, initiated by Majestic Engineering Sdn Bhd and supported by KTMB, is in line with their effort towards carbon neutrality and green technology.

In addition, Prof Khoo also presented a research on public transport planning for the first-last mile infrastructure in Malaysia.

YB Anthony Loke stated that he supports this kind of collaboration between the university and the industry as it fosters the development of new technology in the railway. CRIE, on the other hand, offered to provide strong support to MOT by becoming a committee member or board member of strategic planning or standard making.

Overall, the meeting was fruitful for both parties.

Ongoing discussion between both parties

YB Anthony Loke (most left) sharing his thoughts and opinions

UTAR representatives at Malaysia Parliament House

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