Rethink RM44b ECRL project: Jomo

19 Sep 2019 / 21:40 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has been urged to relook at the RM44 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project by a member of the Malaysian Council of Eminent Persons, Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram (pix).

“It is not a trivial amount,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the public forum held by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) here yesterday

“The whole project was intended basically for fundraising. Putrajaya should consider this project very seriously. Borrowing from Japan may be the best choice now, but what are we borrowing for.”

He said it would impact the national economy for a long time, calling it a “permanent albatross”.

Jomo said the government would need to continue subsidising the railway, but it could be a white elephant. He believed the ECRL project to connect Kelantan to the Klang Valley would be under-utilised and heavily subsidised, forcing future generations to bear the cost as well.

He said the money should instead be used on the people of Kelantan, adding that the state “does poorly on so many indicators”.

For instance, he said, the people in Kelantan and Terengganu need clean water and a mechanism to deal with annual flash floods. “We need to deal with a lot of problems on the wellbeing of the people in Kelantan,” he added.

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