KOTA BARU, June 17 — The Kelantan government has applied to the federal government to allow the Tok Bali East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) to serve as both cargo and passenger station to optimise the economic development in the area.
State Industrial, Trade, Investment and Entrepreneur Development Committee chairman Datuk Hanifa Ahmad said the application was made following the East Coast Economic Region Development Council’s decision to develop the 80-hectare land in Cherang Ruku as an industrial area.
“The industrial area is located about 15 kilometres from the Tok Bali ECRL station, and if the station is only used to ferry passengers, it would be less beneficial to the industrial area.
“If Tok Bali ECRL station is also used to carry cargo, it would boost the local economy in Kelantan and, at the same time, provide a little competition to Kemaman in Terengganu and Songkhla in Thailand,” he said in reply to Zuraidin Abdullah (PAS-Chetok) at the Kelantan State Assembly sitting here today.
Zuraidin had wanted to know the impact of the ECRL project to Kelantan, its people, and downstream industries.
Prior to this, the Federal government decided to change the function of the Tok Bali ECRL Station to only to ferry passengers even though the original plan was to use it to transport both passengers and cargo.
To the supplementary question by Datuk Mohd Adhan Kechik (BN-Bukit Bunga) about the federal government’s reason to shorten the ECRL route to Kota Bharu station, Hanifa said it was due to cost optimisation factor.
“The federal government also said they will develop the third phase of the East Coast Expressway (LPT) connecting Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu to Pengkalan Kubur in Tumpat.
“However, we will continue to appeal so that the Tok Bali ECRL station will be used to serve both cargo and passengers so that Kelantan stands to benefit from spillover development,” he added. — Bernama