Today, as an initiative to bid the Malaysia High Speed Train Project, Japanese government and Japanese trade associations have organised a free seminar on high speed Rail. The seminar is also to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Shinkansen.
The successful of Shinkansen is amazing. It’s no doubt that Shinkansen has increased the GDP growth rate of Japan (0.3%), contributed to the regional development and the most preferable mode of transport for travel distance up to 1000Km. For year ended March 31, 2014, JR EAST (one of the Shinkansen operator), has made annual operating revenue of $27billion and without any subsidies from the government.
Can Malaysia High Speed train be as successful as the Shinkansen. Do Malaysia need to buy the Japanese technology so that the successfulness of the Billion dolar project can be guaranteed.
If we look one of the main factor for the successful of the Shinkansen in Japan is on the ownership of the technology. High speed train technology is not only involved interdisciplinary technologies (rolling stock, safety, track technology, signal system, electricity, environmental impact and etc ) but also require the advanced technology. In average, in every 10years, one new series of Shinkansen has evolved. This fast growing and sustainable development of the Shinkansen technology is supported strongly by Japanese research institutes. One of them is Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI).
What elements that Malaysia will look in choosing the right technology is still not been finalised. If Malaysia just need the high speed railway system, then the construction of the Malaysia high train will be easy, quick and will be very much similar to the system in the country that the technology is originally being bought from.
But, Malaysia also, is believed, to look into the sustainable elements. Technology transfer is important for this kind of billion dollar project. Malaysia like to have their own people involve in the research and development of its high speed train project. This should come with specific targets, and one of the target should be able to export Malaysia own High Speed train technology in the next few years. To achieve this target, a research centre specifically for High Speed Train Technology, similar to RTRI in Japan, should be setup.