Tuesday, January 7, 2014

MALAYSIA:::Railway union to stage protest next month

ROAD TO RECOVERY: RUM seeks government intervention, wants Elias replaced

THE Railwaymen Union of Malaya (RUM) will stage a protest next month to put pressure on the president of financially-ailing Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB), Datuk Elias Kadir, to resign.

RUM president Abdul Razak Md Hassan said the union's 3,500 members are hoping that the government will replace Elias and put the company on the road to recovery.

In an interview with Business Times, Abdul Razak said losses under Elias' stewardship has worsened to over RM200 million, compared to previous years'.

He said the perception among investors and the public that KTMB is only a service provider and non-profit orientated is also making matters worse for the company.

"This is really not good as KTMB is a national railway company. In the last 18 months, more than 15 key people have resigned as the company has no direction. All efforts by Elias to turn around KTMB have only made it worse.

"Last year, KTMB had several weaknesses with insufficient locomotives, overdue payments to suppliers, faulty tracks leading to accidents, and hiring expensive consultants that brought no benefits to KTMB.

"We hope that the Ministry of Finance Inc will give us support and pump some money into KTMB to help it move forward and turn around," he said.

Elias did not immediately respond to Business Times' queries.

KTMB, which is involved in freight, intercity and commuter train services, employs 5,600 people.

It has been bleeding red ink since it was corporatised in August 1992. It did make a net profit of RM9 million to RM15 million from 1993 to 1995. 

Elias was appointed KTMB president in May 2012 to help turn it into a profitable entity.

He had told Business Times previously that he was targeting to grow non-rail revenues, slash costs and improve efficiency and train delivery.

But in fiscal year 2012, KTMB recorded a net loss of RM284 million on revenue of RM361 million.

Abdul Razak estimated losses for 2013 to be around RM220 million.

He said KTMB will either need to be re-engineered or allow private parties to utilise its railway line for a fee.

Meanwhile, revenue for KTMB is set to improve this year with the increase in cargo fares effective January 1.

"We estimate it would give KTMB an additional revenue of RM100 million a year. We hope the fares for intercity and commuter services will also be raised. We are subsidising RM1 for every passenger and this is putting pressure on our margin," he said.


No comments:

Post a Comment