Pub­lic give thumbs up to ECRL project

New Straits Times - - News -

KUAN­TAN: The con­struc­tion of the much an­tic­i­pated East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is turn­ing the dreams of peo­ple liv­ing in the east coast into re­al­ity.

Caterer Zaiton Madon said she had been hear­ing a lot of pos­i­tive news about the project since its an­nounce­ment last year, and de­cided to fol­low her hus­band Nordin Hussin, 59, to wit­ness the his­tor­i­cal ground­break­ing on Wed­nes­day.

The 53-year-old said she was grate­ful to Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak for com­ing up with such a long-term project, which would make it easier for peo­ple from the east coast to travel.

“ECRL has been the talk of town. No­body ex­pected such a ma­jor rail project in the east coast as all th­ese years, peo­ple only trav­elled by road or by air.

“It has been a long wait, but I am sure it is go­ing to bring much ben­e­fits,” she said, adding that it would be easier for her to visit her chil­dren in Kuala Lumpur.

Fac­tory man­ager Lee Kim Seng, 40, said the project’s ground­break­ing at ECRL Ko­taSAS Cen­tral Sta­tion Project site here, showed the gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to ful­fil its promise.

He said many peo­ple were scep­ti­cal when the gov­ern­ment an­nounced the project last year, but now they were as­sured things would slowly fall in place and the east coast states would soon be con­nected through the ECRL.

Apart from re­duc­ing the time taken from the In­te­grated Trans­port Ter­mi­nal (ITT) in Gom­bak, Se­lan­gor, to Kota Baru, Ke­lan­tan, to four hours from a cur­rent eight hours, ECRL will also train and equip stu­dents with rail­way en­gi­neer­ing skills.

Hun­dreds of stu­dents in higher learn­ing in­sti­tu­tions and col­leges have ap­plied to join the ECRL In­dus­trial Train­ing Pro­gramme, a cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity ini­tia­tive of Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) and China Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Con­struc­tion Com­pany Ltd (CCCC) yes­ter­day.

One of the ap­pli­cants, Nu­rul Amylia Hashim, who is pur­su­ing a de­gree in civil en­gi­neer­ing at Univer­siti Malaysia Pa­hang, said she was look­ing for­ward to be among the 3,600 stu­dents se­lected for the pro­gramme.

The 23-year-old fi­nal-year stu­dent de­scribed it as a once-in-al­ife­time op­por­tu­nity, es­pe­cially for stu­dents to ac­quire rail con­struc­tion and train op­er­at­ing skill.

“All my course­mates are keep­ing our fin­gers crossed and hope to get a pos­i­tive re­ply,”said Nu­rul Amylia.

State Cul­ture and Tourism Com­mit­tee chair­man Datuk Mohd Sharkar Sham­sud­din said the rail link would boost tourism.

“Tourism is all about con­nec­tiv­ity.

“The rail line will at­tract more tourists to the state.” By Ami­rah Na­bi­lah

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