Renegotiated ECRL brings more benefits, economic spin-offs

25 Jul 2019 / 19:32 H.

DUNGUN: Renegotiations in the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project have brought more benefits to the people and economic spin-offs in the transport and tourism sectors, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook.

This is evident as the relaunch of the ECRL has enabled local companies to play a more active role in the national project compared to previously.

Loke said the renegotiations had paved the way for better participation in the project by local building contractors, increasing to 40% from 30% under the previous model.

“Local building contractors registered with the ECRL project will have opportunities to bid for public works like construction of stations and depots,” he said when relaunching the ECRL project at the Terowong Dungun site in Rimba Bandar Bukit Bauk here today.

Work on the proposed ECRL has been suspended since July last year when the government decided to renegotiate with the developer on the cost and implementation aspects of the project.

As a result of the renegotiations, the government saved RM21.5 billion by bringing down the total cost of Phases I and II of the project to RM44 billion from the RM65.5 billion signed by the previous government.

The revised ECRL will now run from Kota Baru to Mentakab, Jelebu, Kuala Kelawang, Bangi/Kajang, Putrajaya and end at Port Klang covering 648 km, which is 40 km shorter than the original route of 688 km.

Loke said the cost of transporting cargo by train was expected to be lower than that by road and this benefit would enable investors along the ECRL alignment to enjoy lower production costs and make the prices of their goods more competitive.

“The existence of ECRL will also increase the country’s profile in efforts to promote green logistics services which are now the trend as the electric-powered ECRL is more environment friendly than road transport,” he said.

Loke said the economic spillover of ECRL would also be felt in the tourism sector as operators of homestays, hotels and domestic tourism activities would enjoy a boost in business following visits to destinations like Cherating, Dungun, Kuala Terengganu, Tok Bali and Kota Baru.

Apart from emphasising safety aspects during tunnel construction, Loke gave an assurance that environmental conservation and wild life protection would be given close attention during project implementation.

He said the relaunching of the ECRL project would generate job opportunities for local people in the rail industry through the Industrial Skills Training Programme (PLKI-ECRL).

“Through the resumption of this ECRL construction, PLKI-ECRL will be restructured to potentially benefit 5,000 local people compared to 3,600 people previously,” he said.

The ECRL project is scheduled to be fully completed in 2026. — Bernama

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