‘Rail link a game changer for east coast’
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