MRT Kajang Line – Taman Pertama station in Cheras

Last month, MRT Corp released the official map for the MRT3 Circle Line, which has been approved by the government and is set to start operating in stages as early as December 2028. The finishing piece of the Klang Valley’s rail network is expected to be fully operational in 2030.

With the map, the impact of the loop line is evident, as you can see clearly its relationship to the other train lines. It shows 31 stations including the main hub at Titiwangsa, but excluding two stations listed as provisional (Salak Jaya and Bukit Kiara).

Since the map surfaced, there have been voices questioning MRT Corp’s move to have stations at supposedly affluent areas where residents are not likely to use public transport. That, according to FMT, is from “some social media users” and the news outlet put the question to MRT Corp CEO Datuk Mohd Zarif Hashim.

Click to enlarge MRT3 map

“We have to traverse through areas such as Mont Kiara because at the end of the day, the MRT3 line is a circle. We need to be able to connect underserved communities in Segambut Dalam and Taman Sri Sinar with the rest of the line. As Mont Kiara happens to be along the way, we can’t skip it,” he said.

Zarif explained that MRT Corp decided it was better to have a station at Mont Kiara instead of not stopping, so that those residing and working there would also have the best possible transport service. He said there were workers who had to commute to MK to get to various eateries and service outlets there. There’s congestion leading to the area, and an MRT station was needed to ease the mobility of residents and workers.

He added that MRT3 Circle Line is designed to cover many areas currently not served, or underserved by the existing urban rail network. These areas include Segambut Dalam, Taman Sri Sinar, Setapak, Pandan, Pantai Permai and Jalan Klang Lama. The MRT3 stations could also branch out to more underserved areas in the future through spur lines.

MRT Putrajaya Line – Metro Prima station in Kepong

Let’s take a look at the map and stations. Starting from the Titiwangsa hub in KL heading towards Setapak, the stations are Kampung Puah, Jalan Langkawi, Danau Kota, Setapak, Rejang, Setiawangsa, AU2, Taman Hillview, Tasik Ampang, Kampung Pandan, Pandan Indah and Taman Kencana. The next stretch of stations are in the Cheras area, and they are Taman Cheras (a.k.a. Yulek), Taman Midah, Jalan Yaacob Latif and Sri Permaisuri.

The line then bends towards Salak Selatan, Salak Jaya (provisional), Kuchai and Old Klang Road. The line then enters the Lembah Pantai area, with stations in Pantai Dalam, Pantai Permai, Universiti and UM. The final stretch covers the affluent areas of Bukit Kiara South, Bukit Kiara (provisional), Sri Hartamas and Mont Kiara, before heading to Bukit Segambut, Taman Sri Sinar (near Desa Parkcity in Kepong), Dutamas and Jalan Kuching before coming back to Titiwangsa.

The MRT3 Circle Line is 50.8 km long, 10.7 km of that will be underground, meaning that the bulk of it (40.1 km) will be elevated. The underground sections will be from Rejang to Setiawangsa, Universiti to Bukit Kiara South (the UM station is underground) and the long stretch from Sri Hartamas to just after Jalan Kuching station, where the line surfaces. The six stations here are also underground ones.

So, people in MK and Hartamas don’t take trains? IMO, this idea that “our public transport is bad” or “for the poor” is ingrained in many urban Malaysians and is rather backward. There are some who avoid trains even though their commute is served, preferring to spend more time in the jam and looking for parking. And that’s before we talk about costs.

There are faults and missing links for sure (that’s why a loop line is needed), but with the MRT Kajang Line onboard, we have a decent rail system in the Klang Valley, and it’s about to get better soon with the MRT Putrajaya Line joining the network (there’s a slight delay).

I have a feeling that many expat residents of areas such as Mont Kiara recognise this more than some middle class and above locals, and will be using the MRT3 along with the rest of us. After all, taking the train is a normal thing back in Tokyo, Seoul and London – there’s no stigma.