THE Malaysian government is to commission a feasibility study into the proposed Trans-Borneo Railway to connect the states of Sabah and Sarawak with neighboring Indonesia.

“The study is expected to commence in August 2024 and will take 12 months to conclude, with the projected completion date set for August 2025,” said transport minister, Mr Loke Siew Fook, in a recent written answer given in the Parliament of Malaysia.

The Trans-Borneo Railway is expected to improve connectivity with Indonesia’s new capital, Nusantara, reinforcing transport links and improving logistics in East Malaysia.

The premier of Sarawak, Mr Abang Johari Openg, believes that the project will boost the regional economy, and in October 2023 the state of Sarawak requested a feasibility study.

The Ministry of Transport has also requested funding to conduct the study, Loke said.

The Trans-Borneo Railway was first proposed by the former prime minister of Malaysia, Mr Najib Razak, to the president of Indonesia, Mr Joko Widodo, in 2015, with aim of improving both passenger and freight transport.

In April, Brunergy Utama of Brunei proposed a Ringgit 330bn ($US 70bn) project to build 1620km of new railway connecting Brunei, Sarawak, Kalimantan and Sabah, designed for high-speed operation at up to 350km/h.

According to Loke, the Malaysian government has not given its approval for this project to proceed.

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