Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) has launched what is called the Malayan Tiger Train (MTT) service to the East Coast using 14 coaches contributed by the Japanese government.
Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha said the return service between Johor Baharu and Tumpat was scheduled to make 26 stops throughout the journey.
“The 14 coaches arrived from Japan on Dec 9 and we had been carrying out refurbishment since then so that operations could begin on Dec 16,” he said during the launch of the MTT at the JB Sentral station, yesterday.
He said the introduction of the MTT would boost tourism in the East Coast and attract more local and international tourists, especially from Japan.
Kong said the train was in good working condition despite being over 30 years old, following stringent maintenance carried out by the Japanese.
He hoped Malaysia and Japan could forge closer relationships in the field of train maintenance and in new technologies in the transportation sector.
Kong said Japan had also agreed to sponsor eight engineers from KTMB for training on maintenance of the train in Hokkaido.
Also at the ceremony were the Japanese ambassador to Malaysia, Shigeru Nakamura and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representative, Nagae Tsutomo.
KTMB president Dr Aminuddin Atan who was also present, said the MTT service would increase the number of passengers in the East Coast sector by 17 per cent.
“The MTT service is expected to reap RM6.5 million in profits per year,” he said, adding that KTMB was ready to increase the frequency of trips if the service was well received.