The Japanese Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism came to give their courtesy call to my boss, Datuk Aziz Kaprawi, the Deputy Transport Minister just now.
Why they have come to visit us?
Well, we are about to receive the legendary Shinkansen (bullet train) right here in Malaysia! (If they win the open international tender that is)
The high speed rail (HSR) project announced by our Prime Minister has certainly made an impact throughout the world when he announced Malaysia is going for HSR project from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.
The Japanese Vice-Minister, Mr. Hiroshi Tabata brought along his Japanese Consortium consists of nine (9) Japanese industrial heavyweights (Sumitomo Corp, East Japanese Railway Company, Hitachi Ltd., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Mitsubishi Corp, Mitsui Fudosan Ltd, Taisei Corp, Nikken Sekkei Ltd. and NEC).
They came here all the way from where they come from just to make their intention heard; they wanted to offer Shinkansen to Malaysia.
Mr. Tabata has said in his introductory speech that the Japanese has the confidence in Malaysian government to execute this project and believed that this HSR project will become a major economic growth for both countries. (Noted that Japanese do not think that Malaysia is going to bankrupt!)
And their offers were actually quite good. (Mr. Tabata had me at Shinkansen actually)
The most important offer that they were offering, for me, was the human resource development in which they are willing to train Malaysians all about the HSR plus the technology and technical transfer that we are going to receive.
Of course with this, job opportunity will be plentiful.
Second most interesting offer was to extend our Yen loan from Japan and also extend their private sector investment fund loan to us. It is a way of them telling us that they want this HSR project so damn badly.
The only country in the world other than Japan that has Shinkansen operated is Taiwan. India has agreed to start their design process, and both Thailand and United States are in the phase of doing some preparation of introduction.
Malaysia, if all according to plan, will table their open international tender by the end of this year seeking for a full completion and operational of HSR by the year 2026.
Imagine a Shinkansen in Malaysia.
Definitely a sight to be seen.