KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 — Putrajaya acted like a “big bully” in steamrolling through the latest version of the ambitious East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), Selangor executive councillor Datuk Teng Chang Khim said today.
Teng — in charge of investment, trade, industries and small and medium enterprises in Malaysia’s most developed state — claimed the Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal government did not engage the Selangor state government prior to changing back to an old and questionable route drawn up when the Barisan Nasional (BN) was in power.
“Under Section 20A of the Town and Country Planning Act, the Federal Government shall consult the Planning Committee of the state for such a proposed development.
“A meaningful consultation is one that satisfies the needs of both parties and not one that favoured by one party without the permission of the other,” he said on Facebook.
Teng insisted that the Selangor Pakatan Harapan (PH) government will not bow to federal pressure and acquire the land if the PN government insists on using the BN-era Northern Alignment for the rail project, now dubbed ECRL 3.0.
He said the Selangor government has completed the preliminary work required for acquisition of land for the Southern Alignment as requested previously by the Ministry of Transport (MoT) and to work on another alignment would have wasted a lot of effort and money.
“The MoT’s flip-flop decision has wasted all the effort and time of the state government spent on the Southern Alignment.
“The insistence on the Northern Alignment and the hurriedness of MoT are unjustifiable and obviously fishy,” he added.
Earlier today, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong announced that the ECRL project will see a realignment of Section C to the original route approved under the BN government.
Wee said the decision was approved by the Cabinet last September 2.
The realignment works for ECRL 3.0 involves a distance of 201km for Section C, which includes a spur line of 32.4km, compared to the 185.5km for the same area under the ECRL 2.0, which included a spur line of 41.5km.
With the changes, Wee said that the alignment from Kota Baru to Port Klang will not have a total distance of 665km.
The Northern Alignment will comprise a total of seven stations in the long run, with five to be built in the initial stage, namely: Temerloh, Bentong, ITT Gombak, Serendah and Jalan Kastam in Port Klang.
The ambitious project was brought into Malaysia by the then BN government then led by Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The project consists of three sections. Section A runs from Kota Baru in Kelantan to Dungun in Terengganu. Section B, from Dungun to Mentakab in Pahang and Section C, from Mentakab to Port Klang in Selangor.
China Communications Construction Company Ltd is the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contractor for the project.
The Chinese interest in the ECRL came from it being part of the republic’s mega Belt and Road Initiative, to push for global dominance.
After Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over Putrajaya in the 14th general election, it revised the agreement citing the project’s exorbitant cost and the country’s staggering debt.
The renegotiation with China resulted in a RM21.5 cost billion reduction, and the PH government also slashed the number of stations from 24 to 20.