ECRL making remarkable progress in just 13 months, says MRL CEO

Datuk Seri Najib Razak (centre) looks at the replica of the RM55 billion East Coast Rail Link, August 8, 2017. ― Bernama pic
Datuk Seri Najib Razak (centre) looks at the replica of the RM55 billion East Coast Rail Link, August 8, 2017. ― Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 ― Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) says that the RM55 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is making remarkable progress since its launch in just 13 months given the excellent cooperation between both state and federal agencies.

MRL Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Seri Darwis Abdul Razak, said the rail link, spanning 688 km connecting Kelantan to Port Klang, was on schedule for completion in 2024.

“We have made remarkable progress over the past 13 months which also includes the process of giving out jobs to local contractors.

“In six years, the ECRL will be up and running to help balance growth between the East Coast and West Coast states,” he said in response to questions raised during BNC’s Special Interview aired recently.

Upon completion, ECRL will have one of the world’s most sophisticated train signalling system, full coverage radio system, centralised train control and fibre optic cable infrastructure, he said during the programme which can be surfed on www.bernama.com.

Darwis said ECRL set the tone for an economic spin-off and positive social impact for the east coast states.

“It will be a catalyst for economic equality between the west and east coast as it will stimulate investment, spur commercial activities, create ample jobs, facilitate quality education and boost tourism in Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan,” he said.

On the progress made so far, he said, work has commenced on all eight sections from Kota Bharu in Kelantan to the Integrated Transport Terminal (ITT) in Gombak under Phase 1.

Phase 1 of the project involves the development of 600.3 km rail line in four states, starting from Kota Baru to ITT Gombak in Selangor.

The preparatory works include clearing land, earthworks, constructing the rail line foundation, building base and satellite camps, creating road access and erecting embankments.

He said that Phase 1 would see the construction of 12 passenger stations, three freight stations and seven combined passenger and freight stations.

“From Kota Bharu to Kerteh, there will be five bridges which are 6.3km above ground and viaducts to prevent flooding while the rail line will also cut through the Titiwangsa range to connect to ITT Gombak,” he said.

The second phase involved the development of a 88-km rail line from Kota Bharu to Pengkalan Kubur in Kelantan and from ITT Gombak to Port Klang in Selangor, he sad.

He said phase 2 will have two passenger stations and two combined passenger and freight stations.

Asked how MRL, as project owner, would ensure that jobs will be awarded to Malaysian sub-constractors so that construction of ECRL benefits locals, he said, about 30 per cent of the engineering and construction work will be undertaken by local contractors.

Successful applicants in the exercise would be notified to proceed in the subsequent stages leading to the tender submission, he said.

“Preference would be given to the respective states’ registered contractors shortlisted to submit competitive tenders,” he said.

As of end November 2017, 25 local contractors have been appointed, among  them, HSS Integrated Sdn Bhd, which  won a RM83 million contract to provide supervising consultancy services for Package 1 which covers the first 232km of the ECRL route.

HSS Integrated had previously provided preliminary design consultancy services for the first two phases of the route.

Darwis said that some 30 per cent of civil works packages will be awarded by China Communication Construction Company, the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC), or turnkey contractor, for ECRL, to Malaysian contractors in line with the government’s commitment for local players to tap the ECRL project.

These work packages include site clearing, construction of site offices & worker accommodation, earthworks, formation, drainage, foundation, soil improvement works, roadworks including pavements and street lighting.

It also includes building works and tunnelling including blasting, track laying, system and signalling works including substation construction, poles, piers and duct installations as well as signages and traffic management. ― Bernama

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