With just US$3.88m (RM17m) funding under a Japanese investment agreement, Burma has brought back the trams to Yangon after 100 years.
The tram depot, power station and 6.6 kilovolt power line reportedly cost 143m Burmese kyat (RM0.5m). The tram far is 100 kyat or 35 sen.
Japan helped with technology and training.
No fancy multibillon ringgit plans, no land swap deals, no massive land reclamation rights handed over to developers.
Granted this not a comprehensive solution. But it is a simple and affordable first step – 4.8km for a start – in improving transport infrastructure in phases (the tram line will be extended later this year and then connected to the railway system). This is in keeping with what the nation can afford as it continues its democratisation process.
All this reminds me of what retired Australian tram engineer Ric Francis had proposed for George Town. What happened to his low-budget proposal?
The result: poverty-stricken Burma has brought back the trams ahead of Malaysia. See the full report in Myanmar Times
The problem is that over here, we seem to prefer expensive mega projects and fat contracts. The more billions, the better it would seem.