Malacca monorail goes kaput


There, it didn’t take long for the RM16 million ‘toy’ monorail in Malacca to grind to a screeching halt.  Penang, which is still grappling with the idea of rail transit, can learn from Malacca’s costly experiment with monorail.

Embarrassingly, a skylift had to be used to rescue 20 stranded passengers from a monorail coach, just 100 metres from the station. The launch of the monorail had been timed to mark Malacca’s recognition as a ‘developed state’.

There’s some poetic justice in there somewhere, especially when you consider the unequal heritage conservation funding allocations for the two historical cities. 

Malacca monorail by night as seen from a boat cruising along the Malacca River

So what’s going to happen to the RM13 million extension plan under phase two of the Malacca monorail?

Have a look at this Star report below, followed by tram engineer Ric Francis’ latest update:

Malacca’s monorail service comes to a stop
[email protected]

MALACCA: Barely two months after its grand launch to mark Malacca’s developed state status, the city’s RM15.9mil monorail line has ground to a halt owing to a host of problems.

Launched on Oct 20, the monorail has been idle for a month after developing problems with its wheels and software system.

The China-made monorail line, spanning 1.6km from Taman Rempah in Pengkalan Rama to Kampung Bunga Raya Pantai along the Malacca River, is part of the state’s aim to tap the potential of the river as a tourist attraction.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam had launched the system to mark the recognition of Malacca as a developed state, 10 years ahead of the national Vision 2020.

Hours after the launch, however, a coach with some 20 passengers stalled about 100m from the Hang Jebat station.

Operator Menara Taming Sari Sdn Bhd used a skylift to rescue the stranded passengers.

The project is a joint venture between the Malacca Historic City Council and state subsidiary Kumpulan Melaka Bhd and Agibs Engineering & Construction Sdn Bhd.

The Tourism Ministry has approved an additional RM13.2mil for the monorail phase two extension project under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

On Thursday, a visibly upset Mohd Ali said four engineers from China were trying to iron out the problems affecting the monorail.

“Some screws keep breaking and the rims of the wheels had to be replaced.

“We hope the engineers will be able to fix it within a week,” he told reporters after closing a refresher course for National Service trainers at Permata Resort Camp in Alor Gajah.

He said if the monorail continued to face problems, the state government would not buy additional monorails from China for the proposed extension project and would, instead, source them from Europe.

Menara Taming Sari chief executive officer Nazry Ahmad admitted the monorail had been out of service due to “several technical and mechanical problems”.

“We have been facing problems with the monorail on and off since it was launched. It is now closed to the public,” he said yesterday.

What about Penang’s own rail/tram transit plans? Australian tram engineer Ric Francis sent in this comment:

I am always available to speak at forums but just was not asked. As I have years of experience in tramways and am well known in Penang, I just sent to Chairman of Transport Forum the latest in technical information which would solve the heritage area (transport issue) as well as airport service from Georgetown. To those who do not like overhead tramway wires, this solves all that.

Buses cannot carry as many as 160-people, low-floor-transport, disabled friendly, fast LRT. Like 100 km an hour,
Ric Francis
Tramway Engineer
Vice-President Perth Electric Tramway

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This is the latest update on the malacca monorail as reported by a reader to The Star today (17 October 2012): ========================================= Where is the Malacca monorail? I TOOK some foreign friends to historical Malacca recently. At one of the tourist information centres, we chanced upon a colourful brochure “Come and experience Melaka’s attractions” where the 1.6km monorail service was highlighted. The exact wordings were “Come and experience the spectacular and panoramic view of Melaka – Unesco World Heritage City – from a height of 80 metres, the Taming Sari Tower and also the beauty of scenes of Melaka River… Read more »


The ultimatum to restore monorail service given to Chinese company is one week.

Now already more than one week and golden holidays are over, what’s next course of action taken by Melaka Chief Minister, Mohd Ali?


Has the monorail been consigned as a cultural relic of Melaka to mark the historical relationship of Melaka and Ming Dysnasty?


There is another cultural relic, ferris wheel from China is on the way to Melaka to mark the Cheng Ho’s 600-year voyage anniversary


One more historical item for the historical city.

This must be the joke of the century. Hopefully the historians will not leave it out in the history books


Talking about historical authenticity, some Melakans were not appreciative of their unique and rich heritage. Like most Melakan antiquities were sold to Singaporeans in the 80’s and 90’s resulting in less authentic heritage assets. Next target was Penang where the rich Singaporean got what they could lay hands on rare authentic Baba Nyonya items for cheap bargains. Unlike Melaka, Penang still has numerous heritage assets zealously guarded from foreigners. It is so sad that Melaka with her long history can’t appreciate, protect and manage her heritage. It is like Melaka has sold off her soul, leaving only a dead and… Read more »


I wonder who approved the monorail, fly wheel, Kris shape Tower, etc. fun fair toys in the Melaka Heritage City. Unlikely Ali Rustam had consulted UNESCO about the feasibility of the monoroil in the heritage zone.

Many people do not know Melaka and Georgetown cities are just in the tentative world heritage list only until a final management plan is approved. Unlikely these people can prepare a good final management plan for UNESCO by 11 Feb 2011.

Just wait and see how quick Melaka and Penang delisted by UNESCO.


Let the TRUTH be spoken to the UNESCO officials. Penang should not be dragged down just because of Melaka’s inefficiency in heritage management by sick clowns intent on treating heritage assets of value as play things. The day of reckoning as nigh.

Time for dinner coffee at my favourite kopitiam, not the mm stalls at Lorong Susu.


Having left Malacca since 1968 Melaka now from what I see in leaflets and video look more like a modern city. Historical Malacca now nowhere I dont think I can find my old home that is Patai 2 Trenquerah or has they change the name or Patai 2 has also turned into something like the river where no marine live can be seen same as the mangrove trees near the Malacca bridge.


Be real people. Chinese companies will engineer anything to your budget. You get what you paid for.
You pay peanuts, you get a kaput monorail.

The problem is not with the Chinese supplier. It is with the local company that handle the project. Find out how many “mercedez” did that company buy and you can determine how much was spent on the monorail.


If you have proper product specifications and control; you would usually get what you paid for.

In Melaka’s case, most probably they got a RM10 million monorail system; … (did) the other RM7 million (go) into a crony’s pocket(?)

Isn’t this just the same story like stadium’s roof collapsing, cracks in public buildings, abandoned projects, submarines refuse to submerge etc etc When 30-50% of a project’s cost goes to a crony’s company as commission, the contractor or supplier will delivered a product based on what he has actually received.


Melaka is famous for its many run down museums. Ali Rustam can display his Chinese made monorail as another historic exhibit on the riverbank.


Cheap skates…

Mau maju very fast by doing facade….tapi tin kosong…story of Al Rustam and Malacca.

…same state as buang babies No. 1


In China you don’t ask a manufacturer how much it cost to get a product made, they ask you how much you are willing to pay to get the job done. That raises the question: How much did the gomen pay the chinese for the monorail system?

Andrew I

Not enough, apparently, like the quality of the comments of some of their paid commentators.


Sound like No-more-brain buying monorail. Buy mark up price for a display toy. UMNO you are crowns.

charlie chan

monorail goes kaput. millions lost – to who. to corruption, leadership by example. Poor BN – thry cant even do a simple train job. NOW RM 36 BILLION for mrt / lrt in KL . NO tender . WOW _ THIS THE REAL MALAYSIA TRULy ASIA.


UMNO Boleh. Boleh Apa?


In Aussieland, there is a common saying, “You pay for what you get”


… shameful incompetence. This is what it all about. Incompetence.

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi everyone,

There’s nothing wrong with engineering technology from China – they’ve the fastest train record, even overtaking Japan in terms of bullet train technology!

The problem in Malacca’s case is its haste in one-upmanship, not evaluating properly, with intent or otherwise, the cost and benefit of the proposed technology, maybe some ‘expensive hidden costs’ that ‘warp’ their final decision!


You get what you paid for ! You wanted a cheap monorail and this is what you get and stop blaming the Chinese. How is it their bullet train is able to become the fastest bullet train in the world and don’t have the problem of breaking down ? Just like everything else there are many classes of products, even when you take your family onto a plane you have to pay first or business class to get the bigger seats, better food and get well treated by the attendants in the cattle class. Or better still if you get… Read more »

Gerakan K

Fastest bullet train in the world ???

China is the master of news “maker” and “censor”.

They even try to “extinguish” the news of their Nobel peace prize winner. Got great achievement but “malu” eh ???

Internet also they wanted to censor and what not ???

By the way, quality is the antonym to the China products.

Buy Japanese instead. Sony vs Haier ???

LOL !!!


Gerakan K

Yeas go and buy Japs. From raw material to process and packages they are all from CHINA!! You can’t read? Japs got frightened and tremble when China suddenly slow down the export of rare earth material.


Gerakan K, your comment was one of a sour grape…pity, Melaka is not your turf to do your normal tongue licking!

Gerakan K

Face the fact lah.

That lousy made-in-China monorail really “tak boleh pakai”. Want to blame poor maintenance after 2 months in service ??? Even our Proton has 3 years or 100,000 km warranty.

Want to push “Ketuanan China” to us huh ??? Go to eat chicken chop lah !!!

I also wonder the so called military might of China. “Boleh pakai kah” ??? Or just for scaring purpose ???


Then don’t buy from the Chinese.
Hey, loud mouth Gerakan K.
I dare you try these Chinese army, you will be in for a surprise.
These soldiers are all terrains, any where on earth is not an impossibility.
And they are not ‘gaya’ for show unlike some in the manner of the US, high tech but ineffective. They are minimalist in equipment but all rounder liken to the Talibans.
Wanna invite them?

Missing Malaccan

Anil, Please drop by and see for yourself things that go kaput in Malacca; 1. Eye of Malaysia that not only went kaput but has now totally VANISHED from the face of earth! 2. The state govt spent millions building a through road leading to the missing Eye just months before it went missing 3. Malacca International Trade Centre that has been running at a lost since its inception. 4. The biggest bowling centre in Asia that went kaput. 5. The biggest go-kart centre also went kaput 6. Even Malacca River has now gone missing! We have a Malacca Lake… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

To fix the problem within a week by the china … engineers? No way! Unless they know where to find some old mechanics in KL to manufacture the parts for them. Most of the time those uneducated mechanics are real MacGyver, they can solve problem faster than those so called learned engineers.

sama sama

Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask how you can mlk it.

Ong Eu Soon

Seem like the Melaka state government is the guinea pig for the China made monorail. If some screws keep breaking and the rims of the wheels keep distorting, all those parts were made of incorrect materials. This sucking China made monorail most likely never been tested before. Melaka may be the first customer. 20 years ago when Yamaha motorbike upgrade from 100cc to 110cc, the screws keep coming out, I solved the problem by using a softer material, copper, instead of using a hardened screw. This manufacturer obviously is inexperience. I am not a mechanical engineer, if my electronic background… Read more »


I think the Melaka government being conned. In China, there are some greatest conmen. I met a Teowchiew. He was very impressed that I can speak Minnan-teowchiu dialect. Yet I got conned by him. That is why I can see why some chinese are very rude when we approach them and ask them some questions as to the direction but they do not want to answer in case they will get conned. There are many selling cheap mobile phones.But went bring back, it is just a solid metal!


China have just introduced thousand of kilometers between all the big cities of their latest home made bullet trains…mono-rail is part of their train developments from Airport to the capital cities. Retarded brains always think West is Best…have better change their diets for their brains nourishment alter their thinking!!
I suspect it did’nt work too well because UMNO 10% men (could have been) trying to raise it to 30%… (perhaps) forcing the manufacturers to cut cost…RESULTING IN STANDARD/QUALITY SUFFER(?)


Don’t take the face value from what the Chinese government says in the news.

Chinese people prefer to buy foreign cars is testimony that made in China engineering products quality and reliability is still one or two decades behind the Japan and Western countries.

Why made in China motorbikes totally disappear from the Vietnam market? Figure it out yourself instead of crying like a baby.


On what criteria was the decision made to choose this monorail system from China? I am sure the price was more attractive and the specs must have met the requirements of the committee. If not, the MACC should move in. And the MACC should look at the entire tedner and bidding processes to see if they were clean and transparent.

I like the part where Anil mentions that there was “some poetic justice in there somewhere”.

ROFL! Hey, Someone up there’s smiling!


This is the kind of BN quality management and the double standards applied between Malacca and Penang.
Malaccan folks,if you want better govt to manage your state,consider to vote wisely in GE13.

Mat Sempoi

The Melaka LRT is only 1.6km long. This is an insult to the tourists who will rather walk.

Now that it is kaput, it will become a new unesco relic of Melaka Maju, cortesy of Rustam.

The Chinese flers will tell you that they could make world’s fastest high-speed train (for US Governor), and at the same time the low class LRT toys to fool the cronies of umnoputera, especially Encik Rustam.

Melaka Malu!


Melaka river monorail is a guinea pig project for this Chinese company.

Less than 10 years old KTM locomotive units bought from China need more maintenance works than 30 years old unit from German. And this Melaka UMNO man never learn a lesson from KTM debacle.

Obviously, China is still lacking engineering capability to make reliable monorail.

Ong Eu Soon

China has the engineering capability, the only problem is our politicians bought the monorail from half past six engineering company at what cost we don’t know, but what quality we surely know.


Let me tell you a story on how Chinese engineers modified Russian jet fighter SU-27. They had copied every single detail of its body aerodynamic shape and structure.

Unfortunately they could not copy Russian engine 100%, therefore made-in-China engine is heavier than original engine.

Instead of modifying aerodynamic profile to compensate the shift of centre of gravity, Chinese engineers just add an extra weight to counter the CG shift simply because they still lack of engineering capability to design and analyze aerodynamic performance of advanced jet fighter.


Don’t forget when you factor in all the possible kickbacks