KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — The East Coast Rail Link route (ECRL) in Terengganu spanning 250 kilometres will cost RM15 billion, said its Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar.
He said the ECRL was capable of becoming a game changer for the state, and would be able to stimulate the state’s overall economic growth.
Additionally, it is also expected to open up 23,000 new job opportunities in the state.
Ahmad Samsuri said this at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Terengganu Incorporated Sdn Bhd (Terengganu Inc), Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) and China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd (CCCECRL) to form a strategic collaboration for the ECRL implementation.
“This cooperation is not limited solely to the construction phase, in fact, it will continued to be improved through the role of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) in the aspects of the development of industrial centres and logistics which are able to propel the state’s economy,” he said.
Ahmad Samsuri, who is also Terengganu Inc chairman, said the strategic investment holding company would represent the state in coordinating, facilitating and acting as a medium between MRL, CCCECRL and local authorities.
He said the earth and physical works on the ECRL project in Terengganu had started some time ago, and six locations namely Jerteh, Bandar Permaisuri, Kuala Terengganu, Dungun, Kemasik and Chukai, have been identified for the construction of ECRL stations.
Besides encouraging the growth of the construction and building materials industry, the ECRL project is expected to increase the mobility of local residents as well as improve the socio-economy of the community.
Meanwhile, MRL chief executive officer Datuk Seri Darwis Abdul Razak reiterated that the construction of the ECRL project which is now 15 per cent complete, was not affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
According to him, more than 200 Chinese workers had returned to Malaysia and had started working after being placed under two-week quarantine at base camps located in the east coast.
About 30 per cent of the total workers of ECRL are Chinese citizens and 800 Chinese workers did not return to China during the CNY celebration recently.
“We are not expecting any issues with regards to construction because of the fact that we have appointed some local contractors to undertake preliminary works which are already ongoing at the site,” he said.
The total cost of the 640-kilometre ECRL was reduced to RM44 billion, a reduction of RM21.5 billion from the original cost of RM65.5 billion. — Bernama