Monday 22 Apr 2024
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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on March 9, 2017.

 

KUALA LUMPUR: The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is capable of boosting gross domestic product (GDP) growth by about 1.5% for the three East Coast states of Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He said the project is part of the East Coast Economic Region Master Plan, which is aimed at achieving equitable growth and development between the East Coast and West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

“It is important to reduce economic inequality between the East Coast and West Coast of Malaysia. The ECRL will be the game changer that could boost higher growth rates for the East Coast states,” he said at the launch of the public inspection of the ECRL project yesterday at the Land Public Transport Commission’s (SPAD) headquarters.

Najib said the project could cut travelling time between the east and west coasts to under four hours, help spur the tourism sector, encourage commerce and the creation or growth of industrial clusters along the ECRL alignment, as well as attract new investment.

On Nov 1, Malaysia and China agreed to a framework financing agreement and engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contract for the RM55- billion rail link. The agreement was signed in Beijing by Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd and China Communication Construction Company Ltd, and witnessed by Najib and his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang.

Najib also said it was not wrong to have tie-ups with major economic nations, as it would not affect the nation’s sovereignty.

“Teaming up with major economic nations like China, Saudi Arabia, India and Japan will be beneficial to the country and the people. Hence, [these projects], such as the ECRL, should not be politicised,” he said.

At the public inspection, the proposed alignment of the ECRL from the Integrated Transport Terminal (ITT) in Gombak, Selangor, to Wakaf Baru in Kelantan — comprising 23 stations running along 600.3km of tracks — is put on display.

In addition to SPAD’s headquarters, a series of public inspection sessions will be carried out at 38 high-traffic locations, including some district offices, up to June 5.

“The public can give their feedback and input [about the ECRL] through a letter, via online or walk-in to SPAD, so that we can gather their feedback to better serve them,” Najib said.

Construction of the ECRL is scheduled to start in July this year and be completed in July 2024.

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