Maximising inclusion on Malaysia’s High-Speed Rail project

Malaysia High-Speed Rail project
MyHSR CEO with the Australian Deputy Head of Mission in Malaysia and Executive Director of P4I at the kick-off meeting for the P4I activity on integrating gender and social inclusion into Malaysia’s High-Speed Rail project

Partnerships for Infrastructure’s (P4I) joined a kick-off meeting in Kuala Lumpur to maximise gender equality and social inclusion on Malaysia’s High-Speed Rail (MyHSR) project. 

Held on 28 April 2022 at the MyHSR Corp offices, the meeting was hosted by CEO Datuk Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal, and attended by the Deputy Head of the Australian High Commission in Malaysia, Hannah Birdsey, and P4I’s Executive Director, Elena Rose.

Following opening remarks by MyHSR’s CEO, Ms Birdsey shared Australia’s commitment to inclusive infrastructure development. 

“The High-Speed Rail project holds significant promise to not only reduce travel time, but to also boost Malaysia’s economic growth and catalyse development,” she said.

“Considering the needs of women, children, and vulnerable communities early in the design phase will maximise benefits for these groups and help generate inclusive growth in Malaysia.” 

The MyHSR project is a strategic connectivity project in Malaysia’s Southern Corridor, connecting Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru. The project was initiated through the Economic Transformation Program to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation, and evolved from suspended plans for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR.

MyHSR Corp was set-up to deliver the project and is wholly owned by the Ministry of Finance, although supervised by the Ministry of Transport. It is responsible for the concept, business case, design and implementation of the project.

The project is seen as more than a transportation project to reduce travel time, but a catalyst to drive socio economic development for Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and the intermediate towns along the MyHSR corridor. As the project is currently being reviewed by the government, there is an opportunity for MyHSR Corp to consider how gender equality and social inclusion can be a key part of planning and design. 

During the meeting, Ms. Rose delivered a presentation on P4I and noted the importance of considering inclusion in infrastructure to foster inclusive and sustainable growth and to support the COVID-19 recovery.

“There are opportunities to integrate gender equality and social inclusion at every stage of the infrastructure lifecycle, but to maximise gains this should start from the planning stages,” she said. 

“This could be through setting priorities and targets in the program design, improving supplier diversity during procurement, appropriate consultations during design and construction, and promoting women and minority leadership and employment across operation and maintenance.”

The P4I activity will involve a baseline assessment of gender equality and social inclusion regulations, policies, initiatives, and qualitative and quantitative surveys with key stakeholders. Recommendations on tangible actions and initiatives for MyHSR Corp will be provided, both in respect to the project’s infrastructure investment lifecycle and for MyHSR Corp as an organisation and employer.

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