ECRL project set to cre­ate more jobs, trade in ru­ral ar­eas

New Straits Times - - Business -

KUALA LUMPUR: The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is poised to cre­ate more trade and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in ru­ral ar­eas by con­nect­ing cities and ports from the east to the west of Penin­su­lar Malaysia.

It will play a vi­tal role in Malaysia’s eco­nomic growth by trans­form­ing the so­cio-eco­nomic land­scape of com­mu­ni­ties in Ke­lan­tan, Tereng­ganu, Pa­hang and Se­lan­gor.

The ECRL project will be un­der­taken by Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL).

“With this new rail project, we hope to lower the cost of pro­duc­tion by re­duc­ing the cost of freight trans­porta­tion. This way, we are able to in­crease the com­pet­i­tive­ness of Malaysian prod­ucts and ser­vices.

“With ECRL’s vast cov­er­age con­nect­ing East Coast cities to the Greater Klang Val­ley de­mand cen­tre, we also an­tic­i­pate an in­crease in com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties across the re­gion,” said MRL chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Dar­wis Ab­dul Razak in a state­ment.

Cit­ing a PriceWater­house Cooper re­port, Dar­wis said ac­cel­er­ated in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing would drive eco­nomic growth, pro­vide jobs and de­liver vi­tal ser­vices. The World Eco­nomic Fo­rum es­ti­mated that for ev­ery dol­lar spent on a cap­i­tal project, such as trans­port, an eco­nomic re­turn of be­tween five and 25 per cent was gen­er­ated, he added.

The 600.3km ECRL is strate­gi­cally lo­cated along the trade route. To be built across 23 sta­tions, the ECRL con­nects state cap­i­tals, ma­jor town­ships, in­dus­trial hubs, ports, air­ports and tourism hotspots.

From its first sta­tion, Wakaf Baru in Ke­lan­tan, it takes less than four hours to ar­rive at its last sta­tion in Gom­bak, here, where pas­sen­gers can con­tinue their jour­ney to the heart of the city with the Ke­lana Jaya light rail tran­sit line.

“The ECRL also is a much needed project to help im­prove the mobility of Malaysians, es­pe­cially dur­ing fes­tive sea­sons, as well as to pro­mote the lo­cal tourism in­dus­try.

“To­gether with Land Pub­lic Trans­port Com­mis­sion, we are com­mit­ted to keep­ing the trav­el­ling cost on ECRL af­ford­able, and pro­vid­ing a safer al­ter­na­tive to trav­el­ling on roads, which can be time-con­sum­ing and more sus­cep­ti­ble to ac­ci­dents,” said Dar­wis.

He said plan­ning for the project be­gan in 2007 and three fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies were car­ried out.

“As such, please be rest as­sured that MRL has the com­mu­ni­ties’ best in­ter­ests in mind, es­pe­cially those re­sid­ing in the vicin­ity of the track route. In the next seven years, MRL will take proac­tive steps to en­gage with the lo­cal peo­ple to en­sure the suc­cess­ful roll­out of ECRL.”

The ECRL project is on a three­month pub­lic dis­play and con­struc­tion is tar­geted to start in July. The elec­tri­fied rail­way line is ex­pected to be op­er­a­tional in July 2024.

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