After Proton, will KTM be next?


After Khazanah sells its 43 per cent stake in Proton to DRB-Hicom (owned by Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary), will the government privatise KTM next?

The Edge (16 January) reported that MMC Corp (controlled by Al-Bukhary) had announced that it is proposing to take over KTM. Al-Bukhary again? KTMB has reportedly been asked to assist MMC in conducting due diligence on the rail service to decide whether MMC wants to take it private. The due diligence could could take six months and the entire privatisation exercise could take 18 months.

The railway workers union has naturally expressed concern. It maintains that it won’t be proper for KTMB to be privatised. “KTMB is for the rakyat and should remain as it is today, or returned to the government if necessary,” its president Abdul Razak Md Hassan was reported as saying. “If given to a private party, we can expect the fare of the commuter trains to increase.” According to him, KTM charges 70-80 sen per km for its commuter train compared to more than RM1.00 on the ERL, Putra, Star and Monorail (Business Times).

The Edge asks, “Was there even an invitation to others to put in a proposal to privatise the railway company?”

Why even consider privatising the rail services run by KTM – especially after the double tracking work, which will definitely speed up rail travel, increase the volume of passengers and result in economies of scale for KTM.

Just after the government has spent billions of public money on the double tracking and state-run KTMB is poised to reap the considerable benefits and improve its profitability, along comes a company expressing interest in taking over the railway. So predictable. (By the way, what is Pakatan’s stand on the move to privatise KTMB?)

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There is absolutely no reason why KTM cannot be run efficiently and break even as a state-owned entity with the right management and adequate public investment in improving services. There’s actually no need to make a big profit for KTMB as the railway provides an essential public service. Look at how other country’s have improved their rail services without having to privatise. This public service is all the more crucial in the face of dwindling oil reserves for fossil fuel-powered motor vehicles and higher oil prices.

But sadly, our rail services have been neglected all these years, presumably because the BN government felt it had to prop up the ‘national car’ and minimise competition from other modes of transport (while highway concessionaires reap huge profits from tolls).

Regarding the takeover of Proton by DRB-Hicom, the Wall Street Journal reported:

The deal could further add to the influence of DRB-Hicom’s owner, Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, who also bought Khazanah’s 32% stake in national postal company Pos Malaysia for 600 million ringgit when Mr. Najib’s government began its divestiture program. The Malaysian tycoon first rose to prominence in the 1980s and 1990 when the country was led by Mahathir Mohamad, and it was the former premier who first flagged to local media last year that Proton could soon be sold.

Bukhary controls a couple of the largest ports in Malaysia, Port of Tanjung Pelepas and Pasir Gudang port in Johor, as well as Senai Airport.

Syed Mokthar’s Tradewinds gained control of Bernas, which has a monopoly of rice distribution in the country. Tradewinds also controls Central Sugars Refinery Sdn Bhd and Kilang Gula Padang Terap Bhd.

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In 2007, Gamuda and Bukhary’s MMC were awarded the northern portion of the rail double-tracking job for RM12.5bn.

In April 2010, DRB-Hicom reportedly received a letter of intent from the government to manufacture and deliver a dozen variants of the Malaysian AV-8 armoured wheeled vehicle.

The tycoon also has an interest in Malakoff Corp, the country’s largest independent power producer.

In December 2010, the Singapore Straits Times noted that Al-Bukhary had emerged as “the single biggest beneficiary of state contracts and concessions worth billions of ringgit, making him Malaysia’s most favoured corporate son and the government’s partner of choice”.

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charlie chan

strange- where can a man gets billions to buy so many companies< he really must be a super man- From IPP, pos malaysia , PTP, senai airprt, rice n sugar business- you name it – this guy is there- now proton n soon KTM- must be the richest man in the world n smart too/ who is he??


strange- where can a man gets billions to buy so many companies?

Thro’ Malaysia’s Ah Kong’s banks, blood, sweat & tears coffers and proxy-funds. Warren Buffet will be jealous for years!


Che Det don’t care much as long as his “legacy” enshrined at Langkawi Gallery Perdana.
His fans should make pilgrimage visits to Alor Star to witness his Maha Klinik (at ex Jln Pekan Melayu where he practised medicine b4 entering politics) – this is the place where he was inspired to write Malay Dilemma !
As for Malay Dilemma 2, i think Mukriz may write one about his father’s failed attempts to raise the profiles of almost whole Kedah except Langkawi.


Playing here playing there and cheating us. As at January 2012, your Tenaga bill will be taxed 1% . Robbing us to pay for the 500. Better get rid of this Najib & AMMO before we suffer even more after the next GE


Most of the poor Malays feel they have been betrayed by Umno for not spreading the wealth over a wider base of the Malay population.
Such grievance has caused the once-favoured Umno to be no longer the champion of the Malay struggle. The gauntlet seems to have fallen on PKR and PAS to restore parity and the equitable distribution of wealth.

That’s the cornerstone of ABU. Yet umnoputeras chose to ignore it.


so what can we do about it? nothing!

even voting abu will not help because of the way constituencies are drawn

accept that this will continue and that the next generation of malays will be all the poorer for it


This has been the fact for as long as I can remember.

Proton’s business model is to make profit from our own people then use that profit to subsidise foreign buyers to promote proton’s shabby QC’d kereta nasional.

Kereta Nasional tapi Harga International.

I think protong shold just be dismantled and use their super high-tech plant to assemble establish marque. Work force would still be retained and as a revenue for the country.

Proton is one mans dream at one nations expense!

My old 1982 Nissan BlueBird’s power window still works till today!

tonny wong

The saddest part of everything is those folks in rural areas, pakcik-pakcik and makcik-makcik don’t know a damn about the misusing of public funds and corruption. Imagine one day the whole government is privatised, a single person or corporation own the country……. it’s possible if nothing is done…………..

Thanks Mahathir for turning Malaysia into a Bolehland!


It looks more like a Peking Opera playing off-tandem with a Wayang Kulit but cannot see the real ‘script’ behind the shadow play screen!
How can the show ever get started from Singapore to Kunming, much less with the never dying ghosts of Barang Naiki Syndrome hovering behind stage for a piece of the ‘script for commission action’ than be mere law abiding spectators of a typical Hungry Ghost Month!

Time for Peking men to learn a thing or two about Malaysia Boleh > Tak Boleh.


That Bukhary guy controls practically everything in Bolehland – Rail (twin track), Rice (Bernas), books (MPH), sugar … and now Proton!
Malays should start question why NEP allows such unfair distribution of wealth to only a certain segment of malay community with political connection.


with NEP richness concentrated among few prefered elites, it;s about time these people like al-bukhary clan starts to help raise the business standards of fellow bumi communities eg by contributing $ to complete the construction of Kedah Malay Chamber of Commerce building in Alor Star (structure up for years but no completion in sight !). Mahathir always laments that non-bumi controls majority of commerce yet he has failed to raise the bumi stakes in Kedah when he was the prime minister then (may be he “contributed” a telekom tower for Kedahans). Syed Bukhary is a Kedah native and he seems… Read more »


The abandoned half-built building of Kedah Malay Chamber of Commerce on Jln Kancut in Alor Star is a testimony of failure of the malay business community in Kedah, definitely a slap to the reputation of Che Det in his hometown.


Che Det don’t care much as long as his “legacy” enshrined at Langkawi Gallery Perdana.
His fans should make pilgrimage visits to Alor Star to witness his Maha Klinik (at ex Jln Pekan Melayu where he preactised medicine b4 entering politics) – this is the place where he was inspired to write Malay Dilemma !
As for Malay Dilemma 2, i think Mukriz may write one about his father’s failed attempts to raise the profiles of almost whole Kedah except Langkawi.


Chinese railway builders hit by Malaysian politics – Change in government leaders leads to further delay in planned Singapore-Kunming link Toh Han Shih Jan 16, 2012 Chinese railway companies shortlisted for big money-spinning contracts to build a trans-Malaysia rail link have become victims of the country’s changing political guard. “The Malaysian project has been delayed for 10 years. It was approved by one Malaysian leader, but then new leaders took over from the old leaders, and the new leaders wouldn’t approve the project,” said Li Jiansheng, the chief financial officer of China Railway Group (SEHK: 0390). “We will keep… Read more »