The Palembang light-rail project is tested on May 27. (Antara Photo/Nova Wahyudi)

Palembang LRT Line Cheaper Than in Malaysia, Philippines


JUNE 26, 2018

Jakarta. The light-rail transit system in Palembang, South Sumatra, which is set to be ready for the 2018 Asian Games in August, cost a fraction of similar projects in Malaysia and the Philippines, the government said.

The 23-kilometer project cost Rp 473 billion ($33 million) per kilometer and connects Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin International Airport to the Games' venue, Jakabaring Sport City, Transportation Ministry's railways director general Zulfikri said in a statement on Sunday (24/06).


"The Kelana Jaya Line LRT line in Malaysia, for example, cost around Rp 817 billion per kilometer, while the LRT line in Manila was Rp 907 billion per kilometer," Zulfikri said.

The project is covered from the state budget. Its initial cost of Rp 12.5 trillion was reduced to Rp 10.9 trillion.

"I want to inform the public that the Palembang LRT line development is on track and it will be ready for the Asian Games," Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said.

Controversies arose after Prabowo Subianto, chairman of an opposition party, the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), expressed outrage over the project, which he deemed too expensive and useless.

"There's an LRT line [in Palembang], which function is unclear. I asked how much it cost and I'm shocked as it's Rp 12.5 trillion for 24 kilometers," Prabowo said during a Gerindra meeting in Palembang, in a video posted on the party's official Facebook account on June 20.

The video went viral on social media and incited a public debate.

"I was told by Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan that the world's index for an LRT is only $8 million per kilometer," Prabowo said.

Local online-based media Tirto reported that the world's cheapest light-rail development in South America cost $18.5 million per kilometer, according to the International Union of Railways.

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy data show that similar developments cost $25.3 million per kilometer in developing countries and $37.4 million in developed ones.

The Palembang LRT is developed by state-owned construction firm Waskita Karya and will be operated by state railway company Kereta Api Indonesia.