Federal govt assures ECRL fares will be reasonable

KOTA BARU: The Federal Government has assured that the fares for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) transport service will not burden consumers, said Kelantan Federal Action Council (MTPNK) chairman, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

He said that he was confident that the government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak would allocate subsidies to cover part of the fare that will be imposed, similar to the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) service.

"The MRT for instance, I understand the government subsidises no less than 50% of the fare for the service.

"Going by the cost (construction), indeed it will be high and at the same time, the subsidies granted will depend on the government's finances. However, the salaries of the people will continue to rise and they must be realistic. Whatever it is, we will make sure that the fare charged is reasonable," he said.

Mustapa, who is also the Minister of International Trade and Industry, said this at a press conference after chairing a meeting with heads of Federal government departments at the Kelantan Federal Development Department (JPP) here today.

The opposition has claimed that the government would impose high fares for ECRL services as the construction cost is very high.

Commenting on ECRL's construction in Kelantan, Mustapa said the Federal Government had allocated about RM5 billion for the acquisition of 445ha of land for the construction of the 70km rail line and five railway stations.

"Construction of ECRL in Kelantan will be in two phases, the first phase involves the construction of 46km of the rail line from the Terengganu-Kelantan border and the construction of three stations, namely Tok Bali, Jelawat and Tunjong. The second phase involves the construction of a 24km of rail line with two stations, namely in Wakaf Bharu and Pengkalan Kubor," he said.

The ECRL mega project which involves the construction of a 688km long rail line over a six-year period with a cost of RM55 billion, will shorten the travel time back and forth to the east coast of the peninsular, besides being a catalyst for growth and will also set the tone for an economic spin-off effect and positive social impact for the east coast states. — Bernama