Brunei Company Will Build High Speed Train, Reaching Ibu Kota Nusantara

Brunei based infrastructure company Brunergy Utama announced plans to build the first high-speed train on Kalimantan Island. This more than 1,600 km long project will connect Brunei with its two neighboring countries, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Reporting from Nikkei Asia, Tuesday (2/4/2024), the company which originally operated in the oil and gas sector launched the project at the end of last week. The Trans-Borneo Railway project will stretch 1,620 kilometers from the west to the east side of Kalimantan, crossing three Southeast Asian countries.

According to the announcement, the first phase will connect Pontianak, the capital of Indonesia’s West Kalimantan province, with Kuching and Kota Kinabalu, the capitals of the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah, then on to Brunei’s Tutong district, as well as the island’s west and north coast. .

Next, the second stage will run south and connect Tutong with the provinces of North Kalimantan and East Kalimantan in Indonesia. In this case, including the cities of Samarinda and Balikpapan.

“And it will become the capital of Indonesia in the future, Nusantara (IKN),” said the company.

There will be four terminals serving as the main hubs of the high-speed rail network along with a total of 24 stations, and the bullet trains are planned to travel at speeds of up to 350 kilometers per hour, according to the proposal. This project is reportedly estimated to cost US$ 70 billion or the equivalent of IDR 1.113 trillion (exchange rate IDR 15.900). However, the prospects for this project, including the participation of Malaysia and Indonesia in it, are still unclear.

Sabah State Chief Minister Hajiji Noor praised the proposed mega railway project, saying it would be an economic catalyst for the Kalimantan region. According to him, if this project is realized, it will facilitate trade, encourage industrial growth in border areas, increase tourism in the Kalimantan region, and increase connectivity between communities.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Public Works Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi said last November that his ministry had received an initial proposal regarding the project. He said the federal government had approved a special financial allocation to carry out a feasibility study on routes in Sabah and Sarawak. This is based on the Free Malaysia Today report.

However, Sarawak Prime Minister Abang Johari Openg said that the Sarawak state government had not been officially approached by the Brunei-based company to start the project.

Nikkei Asia confirmed to local government officials in North Kalimantan that several discussions had been held regarding the project with Brunei, but Indonesia had not yet committed to anything. Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Adita Irawati also said the same thing.

“There has been no follow-up regarding this issue, especially involving the ministry,” said Adita.

Regarding this, Brunei’s Minister of Communication and Transport Shamhary Mustapha emphasized that this proposal had not been officially discussed at the government level, including with the Government of the Republic of Indonesia.

April 2, 2024, detikFinance