THE Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Malaysia is set to introduce a complete railway infrastructure testing facility in Malaysia by the end of this year. Makmal Kerja Raya Malaysia (MKRM), which is part of the Construction Research Institute of Malaysia (CREAM) under CIDB Malaysia, will manage the facility in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. It will enable MKRM to provide product testing services for railway sleepers and railway bearers, as well as other construction industry products.
“All these railway components need to be tested and meet certain standards before we can make railway tracks to ensure that they are safe,” said CREAM chief executive officer M. Ramuseren. MKRM is one of the largest structural testing laboratories in Malaysia, equipped with over 200 testing equipment for structural engineering components and building materials. The new laboratory that conducts railway infrastructure product testing will help reduce Malaysia’s dependence on railway component testing services from foreign countries.
“At CREAM, we provide the machines to test the components of a railway track like the sleepers, bolts and fasteners that bind the tracks.
“The tracks need to be tested too,” said Ramuseren.
CREAM also signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with various agencies, inside and outside the country involved in the railway industry, to jointly share expertise and technology. The agencies include Railway Transportation Testing System (RTTC) Thailand under the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research and Metro System Academy (MSA) from Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM).
“The MOU with RTTC and MSA is for cooperation in terms of technical advice and also training for CREAM staff as the RTTC has been testing rails for a long time. “We signed an MOU with them in terms of training and guidance as well as other needed arrangements to make sure that our lab can be at the same level as theirs,” said Ramuseren.
He also said that CREAM would have the first complete railway testing laboratory in Malaysia once they have all the equipment. “At the moment, we received funds from CIDB to set up the facility to test railways at MKRM, which is CREAM’s lab. “We are also trying to get extra funding from Finance Ministry,” he said, elaborating that the funds were for acquiring other equipment needed to test railway components.
Meanwhile, CIDB has committed a fund of more than RM10mil for CREAM.
MKRM provides facilities for Malaysian construction industry practitioners to obtain testing services for large-scale Industrialised Building System (IBS) products like precast concrete, beams and columns.
The testing facilities at MKRM are also utilised by industries outside of construction such as manufacturing, transportation industries, academia and research bodies within and outside Malaysia.
Since November 2022, CIDB has opened other MKRM branches – in Kuching, Sarawak; and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The laboratories there provide testing services for ready-mix concrete and cement.