Axed ECRL project will not affect ties with China: Saifuddin

26 Jan 2019 / 18:44 H.

KUANTAN: The government’s decision to cancel the contract with China Communication Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project that was suspended in July, will not affect Malaysia’s relationship with China, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said the government had already made this known to the Chinese government during Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s visit to the country in August last year.

“They understand and that’s why we are now focusing on efforts to attract more investors to China’s other investment areas in the country, including the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP),“ he told reporters after attending the “Sehari Menyemai Bakti” programme in Kampung Sungai Ular, here today.

Saifuddin was commenting on the Cabinet’s decision this week to cancel the ECRL project after it found that the cost was too high and beyond the government’s financial capabilities for the time being.

Saifuddin, who is also MP for Indera Mahkota, said that to offset the shortage of job opportunities in the Kuantan area especially as a result of the contract being cancelled, Malaysia will intensify efforts to attract Chinese investors to MCKIP.

“Although the ECRL is cancelled, we still want to continue the agenda to make Kuantan the East Coast industrial hub and for that purpose, we will focus on the MCKIP development.

“So far, only one site has been developed from the three sites available at MCKIP and only 25% of that site has been utilised to build the Alliance Steel factory. We still have plenty of space to develop.

“We also still have a large space in Kuantan Port and all these are able to attract new investments, especially from Chinese investors and this is our focus,“ he said.

At the same time, Saifuddin also informed that the prime minister had appointed him as chairman of the Pahang State Action Council from Jan 1.

The council was formed to prove that the Pakatan Harapan government has not sidelined the development nor the welfare of the people in the state, which is currently under the opposition.

He said members of the council would be appointed in the near future with the first meeting to be held on Feb 11. — Bernama

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