AUGUST 9 — The ground breaking ceremony of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) by Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib today marked yet another significant milestone in the nation’s public transport transformation agenda.
As part of the Government’s unwavering commitments to provide seamless and efficient transportation infrastructure for the rakyat, the 688km ECRL will connect east and west coast of Peninsula Malaysia via 22 stations. It is expected to reduce traveling time to only four hours from ITT Gombak to Kota Bharu compared to the average eight hours journey by road or more than 12 hours on festive seasons.
The line, scheduled to be completed in 2024, will provide seamless connectivity between east and west coast and is expected to benefit the 4.4 million population along its route. Once completed, it is estimated that the ECRL will serve 5.4 million passengers annually by 2030. This is in line with my ministry’s goal of 40 per cent modal share in public transport in 2030.
Furthermore, the ECRL will be an important catalyst to realise our aspiration to be the logistics hub in the region as it links key economic and industrial areas such as Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial park to both Kuantan Port and Port Klang. It is estimated that 53 million tons of cargo will use the ECRL service once its completed.
I strongly believe that the ECRL has huge potentials to boost economic growth particularly in the states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. It will see greater socio-economic impact and provide greater comfort to when it is forecasted that the gross domestic product (GDP) for these states to grow 1.5 per cent with the implementation of this project.
The continuous improvement in the public transportation network is a testament to the Government’s “People First, Performance Now” slogan. This has long been a key focus for the Ministry of Transport as well as the Government of Malaysia.
It is heartening to note that the country’s transportation sector is experiencing exciting times with the launch of this project just barely a month after the successful launch of the MRT Sungai Buloh — Kajang Line, which is a significant achievement in the public transport transformation agenda.
On behalf of the Government of Malaysia, I wish to congratulate ECRL’s project owner, Malaysia Rail Link for the successful ground breaking launch today. We whole-heartedly support ECRL in its efforts to transform Malaysia into a world-class economy via its efficient urban public transportation system.
* Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai is Transport Minister of Malaysia.
** This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.