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A transport expert says that you shouldn't judge MRT Corp by its "cold financials"

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  • MRT Corp's financial performance should not overshadow its socio-economic contributions.
  • The long-term benefits of public transportation projects often outweigh initial financial losses.
  • Government support and public awareness are crucial for the success and sustainability of MRT Corp.

The Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRT Corp) in Malaysia has been under scrutiny for its financial performance, but transport consultant Wan Agyl Wan Hassan argues that this perspective is too narrow. According to Wan Agyl, focusing solely on the financial losses reported by MRT Corp overlooks the broader socio-economic benefits that the corporation brings to the country.

Wan Agyl emphasizes that MRT Corp's role extends far beyond mere profit and loss statements. "The Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd has a wider socio-economic purpose, but its financials are dictated by strict accounting standards," he says. This means that while the financial books may show losses, the real value of MRT Corp lies in its contributions to urban mobility, economic development, and quality of life improvements.

Socio-Economic Impact

One of the key points raised by Wan Agyl is the socio-economic impact of MRT Corp's projects. Public transportation systems like the MRT are essential for reducing traffic congestion, lowering carbon emissions, and providing affordable transportation options for the public. These benefits, although not always quantifiable in financial terms, are crucial for the sustainable development of urban areas like Klang Valley.

For instance, the MRT network has significantly improved connectivity within Klang Valley, making it easier for residents to commute to work, access education, and participate in various economic activities. This enhanced connectivity can lead to increased productivity and economic growth, which are long-term benefits that outweigh the immediate financial losses.

Financial Performance vs. Long-Term Benefits

Wan Agyl also points out that infrastructure projects, especially those in the public sector, often require substantial initial investments that may not yield immediate financial returns. "Judging MRT Corp solely by its financial performance is like evaluating a marathon runner based on their speed in the first mile," he explains. The true value of such projects becomes evident over time as the infrastructure matures and starts delivering consistent benefits to the community.

Moreover, the financial metrics used to evaluate MRT Corp do not capture the full spectrum of its contributions. For example, the reduction in traffic congestion and pollution has significant economic benefits, including lower healthcare costs and improved public health. These factors, although not directly reflected in financial statements, play a crucial role in the overall well-being of society.

The Role of Government and Public Support

Government support and public perception are also vital for the success of large-scale infrastructure projects like the MRT. Wan Agyl stresses the importance of continued investment and support from the government to ensure the long-term viability of MRT Corp. "Public transportation is a public good, and its benefits extend beyond what can be measured in financial terms," he says.

Public support is equally important. When the community understands the broader benefits of the MRT system, they are more likely to use it, thereby increasing ridership and improving the system's financial sustainability. Public awareness campaigns and transparent communication about the long-term benefits of the MRT can help garner this support.

While financial performance is an important aspect of evaluating any corporation, it should not be the sole criterion for judging MRT Corp. The broader socio-economic benefits, long-term advantages, and the essential role of public transportation in urban development must also be considered. As Wan Agyl Wan Hassan aptly puts it, "Don't judge MRT Corp by 'cold financials'; its true value lies in its contributions to society."

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