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Speech by Dato' Zailani Safari at the Asian Rail Academy Official Launching Ceremony

30 Sep 2018





01 August 2017 | British High Commissioner’s Residence



Assalammualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

Good morning.


Yang Berbahagia, Dato’ Sri Richard Riot Jaem, Minister of Human Resources Malaysia,

Her Excellency Victoria Treadell, British High Commissioner to Malaysia

Mr. RA Thiagaraja, CEO of K-Pintar Sdn Bhd,

Distinguished Guests,

Industry Players, Training Providers, Members of the Media,

Ladies & Gentlemen,

Firstly, thank you to Her Excellency for hosting this event. I am delighted to be here today for this official launching ceremony of Asian Rail Academy.  It is not only for the industry; it is also for Malaysia as a whole.

This event marks another important milestone in human capital development initiative in Malaysia leveraging on the Industrial Collaboration Program (ICP) where MoUs are inked between Technology Depository Agency Berhad (TDA) with Asian Rail Academy (ARA) and Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF).

I’m sure this will also be another fruitful collaboration between Malaysia - UK and TDA already seeing this ties as enabler for comprehensive strategic partnerships in the future.

Ladies & Gentleman,

For this initiative, TDA and Asian Rail Academy is offering globally recognised railway education certificates through innovative training methods which covers one of the sub-sectors of railway technology which is the Rolling stock and Rolling stock safety.

As extension of the collaboration of Asian Rail Academy with National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR) from UK and TUV SUD from Germany, this MoA is what our country need in order to support the Malaysian Rail industry ecosystem development. Through this type of collaboration, we envisaged the Malaysia rail industry to be developed towards strong and sustainablebusinesses, capable of satisfying the demands of the national rail transportation; and becomes a competitive global player that optimizes the use of indigenous resources and technologies.

Today, TDA is signing a strategic partnership agreement with Asian Rail Academy (ARA) as well as MoU with Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF). The agreement and MoUs are aimed to support the National Rail Centre of Excellence (NRCOE) that cater local railway industry needs in the area of education and training. The NRCOE aims to fulfil the needs of skilled workforce to take up future rail projects to increase the localization, and support the assets operation and maintenance in Malaysia. These is in line with the railway industry strategy that is to ensure effective ‘Through Life Support’ for rail assets with effective cost.

The NRCOE is one of the Government’s strategies to support the development of local rail industry specifically by:

  • Enhancing education and training for Human Capital Development;
  • Facilitate collaboration program for Research and Technology;
  • Facilitate Malaysian Rail Standards and Certification; and
  • Develop local industry to enhance their capability.

We are foreseeing that the NRCOE initiative shall serve the needs for the future rail development not only in Malaysia but to cover ASEAN region as well. In general, NRCOE will be focusing on six sub-sectors for the development of Railway industry that consists of rolling stock, signaling and communications, electrification, track works, automated fare collection, tunneling.

The establishment of this NRCOE is targeted to close the gap in human capital needs. The current workforce in railway is about 18,000 and the required workforce for the year of 2030 is circa 68,000 workers.

Ladies & Gentleman,

20 years ago we had only one (1) main operator with low frequency of intercity trains; and starting in the late 90’s, rail became the main mode of transportation in Malaysia.

Today we have 7 rails networks namely the newly launched MRT SBK Line, KLIA transit, Rapid KL, KTM Komuter, KTM Intercity and KL Monorail service. And, we are expecting more in Malaysian railway development by the initiation of the MRT2, LRT3, East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and High Speed Rail (HSR) which the project is expected to begin in late 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The railway network covers 12 states in Malaysia. The network in Peninsular Malaysia is connected to the Thai railway network in the north. We foresee that if Myanmar Railway is to be rebuilt, services to Myanmar, India and China could be initiated.

The timeline had illustrated the continuous relevance of the industry thus strategically placed Malaysia firmly on track to achieve the above network linkages by 2030.

In addition to these significant impacts, the improvement of local rail industry will definitely benefit the ‘rakyat’ (society) and the nation by improving the income through projects and programs with high inclusiveness factors.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

TDA will further facilitate the continued growth of rail industry infrastructures by undertaking researches, develop plan and coordinate development aspects of rail-based programs in order to create an effective, economical and safe rail industry ecosystem through ICP. 

This is to ensure that rail-based transport development is in line with the socio-economic development of the country. Not forgetting to support the plan to establish an efficient rail-based transport system which will encourage the use of rail-based transport.

Ladies & Gentleman,

In helping the human capital needs, this collaboration between TDA and Asian Rail Academy will concentrate on 3 main programmes to achieve the target which are:

  • NTAR Traction and Rolling stock program (19 program titles);
  • NTAR Leadership and Management Program (8 program titles); and
  • TUV SUD Railway Safety Program (2 program titles)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In summary, local rail industry is expanding and would become an important sector in Malaysia. The Government is planning a number of procurements which need to be leveraged to ensure a high Return of Investment (ROI) or - value for money - through effective ‘Through Life Support’ programs. Therefore, collaborations between industry players are crucial to ensure effective coordination synergized towards sustainable national economic growth.

Let me conclude by congratulating Asian Rail Academy for the collaboration and we wish you every success in the future.

Thank you.

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