‘Rail link a game changer for east coast’

New Straits Times - - News -

KUALA LUMPUR: The East Coast Rail Link project will in­ject an ad­di­tional eco­nomic boost into Ke­lan­tan, Pa­hang and Terengganu, said Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak.

De­scrib­ing it as a game changer for the re­gion, he said the three states stood to en­joy an ad­di­tional one to 1.5 per cent in gross do­mes­tic prod­uct growth on com­ple­tion of the high-im­pact project.

Na­jib was speaking at the Na­tional Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try of Malaysia Eco­nomic Fo­rum 2017 here yes­ter­day.

He will of­fi­ci­ate the project’s ground­break­ing event in Ban­dar Baru Kuan­tan to­day.

The RM55 bil­lion, 688km ECRL will con­nect the east coast states with Greater Klang Val­ley.

Na­jib said the long-term loan from China was on a com­pet­i­tive rate.

De­spite projects like ECRL, Chi­nese in­vest­ments re­main at com­par­a­tively low lev­els vis-à-vis other for­eign in­vest­ments.

For the first quar­ter of this year, in­vest­ment from China rep­re­sented two per cent of for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment (FDI) stock in Malaysia, plac­ing it in 10th place.

Calling the in­creas­ingly politi­cised and “blown out of pro­por­tion” talk as po­lit­i­cally-mo­ti­vated, Na­jib warned that such a view would be bad for Malaysia.

“It is true that China has gained promi­nence as a ma­jor for­eign in­vestor in Malaysia across a broad base of sec­tors, in­clud­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing, ser­vices, ports, rail­ways, real es­tate, con­struc­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and en­ergy.”

In May, nine busi­ness agree­ments were signed be­tween Malaysian and Chi­nese com­pa­nies, with pro­posed in­vest­ments es­ti­mated at RM31.3 bil­lion.

This is in ad­di­tion to 14 mem­o­ran­dums of un­der­stand­ing worth RM143.6 bil­lion signed in Novem­ber.

China’s Belt and Road ini­tia­tive, he said, will be a game changer for the re­gional econ­omy. By Rupa Damodaran

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.