Daim: ECRL costs ‘much more’ than RM55b

Tun Daim Zainuddin speaks during a press conference at Ilham Tower in Kuala Lumpur May 18, 2018. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Tun Daim Zainuddin speaks during a press conference at Ilham Tower in Kuala Lumpur May 18, 2018. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project actually costs more than RM66 billion as announced by Putrajaya before, Council of Eminent Persons member Tun Daim Zainuddin said today.

The former finance minister said following discussions with the ECRL team, it was found that the investment value of RM55 billion only covered Phase 1 of the project, and revealed that Phase 2 will cost an additional RM11 billion.

“ECRL is not RM55 billion. That is only for the first phase. For the second phase, there is another RM11 billion.

“Adding that up with the interest rates... it could probably be much, much more than that. These are the figures that I got from the team but let the government announce it,” he told a press conference here

When asked by reporters whether the cost was reasonable, Daim simply answered: “I was in Kelantan, and they said they prefer the money."

The 688km project will link Port Klang in Selangor with Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan, via 28 stations.

It will offer passenger and cargo rail services and is expected to be ready in June 2024.

Daim and other members of the council met with MRL chief executive officer Datuk Seri Darwis Abdul Razak at Ilham Tower on Wednesday.

After the meeting, Darwis reportedly said that business operations were running as usual and that the project had recorded 14 per cent of development as of this week.

A member of the council, Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram, on the same day was also quoted as saying that the project is unfeasible as it would only put Malaysia at risk financially due to debts that must be repaid within two decades.

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