KUALA KRAI (Bernama) – Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) has estimated at almost RM250 million its losses due to damage of railway infrastructure by the recent floods in the east coast states.
Its chairman, Datuk Nawawi Ahmad, said KTMB would engage an independent committee to determine the actual cost.
“We are in the process of checking the details. I just had a discussion with the president (of the board of directors, Datuk Elias Kadir). He said we may have to engage an independent body to estimate the cost of the damage. For now, we are placing the figure at RM250 million.
“This includes damage to railway quarters, signalling, tracks, locomotives, machinery, rolling stock and so on,” he told reporters after a first-hand look at the damage at the Kuala Krai railway station here today.
KTMB had to cancel all train services on the east coast route after flooding at several stretches of tracks and a number of stations.
Bernama found out that floodwaters entered several trains and washed away part of the steel structure of a railway bridge in Kemubu, Kelantan.
At the news conference, Nawawi said the KTMB management would give priority to restoring the tracks and stations between Gemas, Negeri Sembilan, and Gua Musang, Kelantan.
“It will take a long time to restore the railway route in Kelantan. So, we have asked the management to look into expediting the resumption of operations between Gemas and Gua Musang.
“We may require a long time to rebuild the Kemubu bridge. We are also looking into providing bus services between the badly affected stations,” he said.
Nawawi said preference was given to the Gemas-Gua Musang route because it was one of the busiest, used by thousands of workers, traders and school-going children.
He gave the assurance that the KTMB management would give preference to the welfare of its employees and their families, particularly in terms of funds, housing and children’s schooling.
“Today, the management decided to pay employees the ex-gratia of half-month salary or a minimum of RM500. Also, this week, we will give out another RM500 as flood aid and RM1,000 through the KTMB welfare committee.
“It is hoped that the cash aid will help the employees take care of the schooling expenses of their children. The government has also decided to bring forward the payment of the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M),” he said.
Nawawi said employees in the areas worst-affected by the floods might be relocated in accordance with their scope of duties.
He advised station masters in the badly affected areas to find temporary alternative quarters for their staff whose houses had been damaged by the floods.