This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on April 26, 2021 - May 2, 2021
Residents of Kota Kinabalu can look forward to better accessibility as the Sabah government is looking at enhancing the public transport system in and around the state capital. A sky train linking Kota Kinabalu International Airport with KK and its vicinity is in the works.
Sabah deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin recently revealed that the state government is committed to implementing a sky train project to connect areas within KK, and that several local and foreign companies have shown interest in developing it through a private financing initiative.
While the sky train may provide an added attraction to Sabah’s tourism industry, whether it is the best choice is debatable. One also wonders why and how the state government arrived at the plan. Is the planned sky train similar to the one that currently connects the main terminal building and satellite building at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)? Or is it like the express train service that connects KLIA to Kuala Lumpur? Is a monorail line, light rail transit or mass rapid transit also being considered?
Is rail the ideal mode of transport for KK in the long term? Will future ridership warrant a sky train or is simply having better highways and roads, or a bus rapid transit system the answer?
So far, there has been a lack of clarity on the sky train project.
It has yet to be debated on in the state legislative assembly because sittings are currently suspended during the state of emergency.
As such, it is hoped that the Sabah government will carry out a thorough feasibility study on the project before proceeding, or KK risks being saddled with a white elephant.
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