: Construction of the Gemas-Johor Bahru Electrified Double-Tracking Project (EDTP) project costing RM7.13 billion will begin next month.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the construction of the 197km double-tracking rail network was expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
"We're hoping that the project will have a positive impact on Johor's economy specifically as well as the country in general," he told reporters after visiting a railway site and its nearby areas that might be turned into buffer zones for the project, here today.
Liow also visited a buffer zone site near Tai Poh Ya Worshippers Organisation temple near here.
He said in the meantime, the government would also review the proposed lands that would be turned into buffer zones so that the project would not affect the livelihood of the residents in the vicinity.
This came about after several quarters including the Tai Poh Yah Worshipper Organisation, appealed to the government over the taking over of their lands for the project.
With advanced technology, it could reduce land usage for buffer zones once the project was implemented, he said.
"We'll see whether we can reduce land usage for the buffer zones," Liow added.
He also said the government has always been concerned about the welfare of the people and thanked all parties involved for their support towards the project.
The EDTP provides capacity for trains to hit 160km per hour, with an operating speed limit of 140km per hour.
It covers several districts in Johor, namely Segamat, Kluang, Kulai and Johor Bahru.
Meanwhile, commenting on the cargo train derailment near the Batu Gajah station yesterday, Liow said Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) had been instructed to speed up the removal process to ensure that at least one rail line could be used tomorrow.
"I have instructed KTMB to speed up the (recovery) process of ETS (Electronic Train Service) from Kuala Lumpur-Ipoh," he said, adding that the ETS would be restored in 48 hours.
"The government is concerned about ETS users. KTMB has been using bus services from Batu Gajah to Ipoh since yesterday. Today, 36 buses are in service," he said.
In the 3.15am incident, the cement-laden cargo train from Kuang, Selangor to Tasek, Perak derailed at KM200.3 near the Batu Gajah station in Perak. -- Bernama