The transformation of the road system in Malaysia

July 21, 2014
Travel Smarter

Before the country gained independence in 1957, there were only federal and trunk roads in Peninsular Malaysia, built during the British colonial era to enable the Administration to transfer goods and commodities more conveniently. Since then, our roads have undergone massive transformation – from a route once travelled on bullock carts, we now have in place a modern expressway system that is considered to be one of the best in Asia.

YEAR

MILESTONES

Early
20th century

·
Gravel
and earth roads made travel very difficult. Trains were the preferred mode of
transportation. Roads were only suitable for short-distance travel. Motor
vehicles eventually replaced bullock carts with the rapid growth of rubber
plantations.

1951

·
The
British Board of Trade found that Malayan roads were inadequate for traffic
and unsuitable for heavy vehicles, thus a need for a road development plan to
be created.

1953

·
A
seven-year plan was launched to develop the Peninsula’s roads by the newly
federalised Public Works Department. Federal roads were developed by the
British Government to facilitate the transportation of goods and commodities.

1966

·
The
Highway Planning Unit was established under the Ministry of Works.

·
The
country’s first toll road, a 20-kilometre stretch from Tanjung Malim to Slim
River, was completed. It saved journey time by half an hour, and cars were charged
50 sen, buses and lorries RM1 and motorcycles 20 sen.

1970

·
The
first comprehensive five-year road development programme was formulated by
the Highway Planning Unit, which included expanding rural roads and plans to
construct three new highways linking the east and west coasts.

1975

·
Completion
of Lebuhraya KL – Seremban (KLS) funded by the World Bank. This was the first
highway to be installed with traffic signals by the Public Works Department.

1977

·
Lebuhraya
KL – Karak (KLK) was opened to motorists.

·
The
Cabinet approved the construction of the entire North-South Expressway (NSE),
with an estimated cost of RM2.6 billion to be financed by the private sector.
However, the plan did not immediately take off, as no companies were keen to
participate in the project.

1979

·
The
Highway Planning Unit recommended the setting-up of the Malaysian Highway
Authority (MHA) after the private sector showed a lack of interest in the
development of the proposed NSE. MHA would be tasked to ensure uniformity of
the construction, operation and maintenance of the highways and to collect
tolls to recover the costs.

1980

·
MHA
was formed by a Special Act of Parliament – the Highway Authority of Malaysia
(Incorporation) Act 1980 (Act 231) to undertake highway development, including
designing, constructing, maintaining and collecting toll from highway users.

·
The
MHA started work on the NSE.

1983

·
Privatisation
policy was announced as a means to spur economic development as well as
improve the effectiveness and quality of public services.

1984

·
The
Federal Roads (Private Management) Act (Act 306) which allowed private
companies to collect toll for specified period on a build-operate-transfer
(BOT) basis was gazetted.

1985

·
165 km
of tolled expressways and nine toll plazas were in operations and managed by
the MHA. Jambatan Pulau Pinang was opened, connecting the mainland of
Malaysia to the island.

1986

·
A
total of 350 km of highways was built, which was only two-fifths of the
length of the highway approved by the Cabinet in 1977. The economic crisis
also led to cost escalation, from RM2.6 billion in 1977, to RM4 billion. The
MHA then informed the Prime Minister that the target date of the NSE
completion in 1986 could not be met.

·
On 29
December 1986, the Minister of Works announced that the concession for the
NSE project had been awarded to the United Engineers (Malaysia) Berhad (UEM)
and work would begin in April 1987.

1988

·
Projek
Lebuhraya Utara Selatan Bhd (PLUS) was formed as a subsidiary of UEM to
undertake the NSE project. MHA handed over more than 300 km that it had
already built to PLUS which took over the design and construction of the
remaining sections of the highway.

1990
– 2014

·
PLUS’
successful management of its expressway led to an influx of privatised
highways in Malaysia, which currently stands at 30.

1994

·
The
much anticipated 772-km North-South Expressway was opened to public.

1995

·
Lebuhraya
Kuala Lumpur-Seremban, with a length of 10.5 kilometres was opened to public.

1996

·
Two
highways were opened to motorists this year, namely Lebuh Raya Shah Alam and
Lebuhraya Butterwoth-Kulim.

1997

·
The
North-South Expressway Central Link, was opened to motorists. The Expressway
starts at the Shah Alam Interchange and ends at the Nilai North Interchange.

1998

·
3
highways were opened, namely Lebuhraya Malaysia-Singapura Lintasan Kedua,
Lebuhraya KL-Karak and Seremban-Port Dickson Highway.

1999

·
Commuting
within the Klang Valley was made easier with the opening of three more
highways, namely Lebuhraya Cheras-Kajang, Lebuhraya Sungai Besi and Lebuhraya
Damansara Puchong.

2001

·
Congestion
around Ampang and Kuala Lumpur improved with the opening of Ampang-Kuala
Lumpur Elevated Expressway, the first elevated highway in Kuala Lumpur.

2002

·
Lebuhraya
Pintas Selat Klang Utara Baru with a length of 17.5 kilometres was opened.

2004

·
Lebuhraya
Pantai Timur Fasa 1, New Pantai Expressway and Kajang Dispersal Link
Expressway were opened to public with a length of 174.5, 19.6 and 37
kilometres respectively.

2005

·
Guthrie
Corridor Expressway was opened to public with 22.65 kilometres in length.

2007

·
Another
two inter-urban highways, Maju Expressway and Lebuhraya SMART were opened in
December and June respectively.

2009

·
Two
more highways were opened to public. IThey were the 77-km Senai Desaru
Expressway in Johor and the 18-km Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway in the Klang
Valley. The latter cut travelling time tremendously from Jalan Duta to Ulu
Kelang.

2010

·
Lebuhraya
Kemuning-Shah Alam (14.7 km in length) and Lebuhraya Kajang-Seremban (44.3 km
in length) were opened to public.

2011

·
Another
option for road users plying the KL to Kuala Selangor route was made
available with the opening of KL-Kuala Selangor Expressway.

2012

·
The
Eastern Dispersal Link and the South Klang Valley Expressway were opened to
public with 8.1 and 51.7 kilometres in length respectively.

2014

·
Another
bridge was built to connect Penang and the mainland – The Penang Second
Bridge is also known as the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge.