‘POLITI­CIS­ING ECRL CURBS GROWTH’

China’s RM5.6b in­vest­ment in steel fac­tory pro­duces more than 4,000 jobs

New Straits Times - - News - HIDIR REDUAN KUANTAN hidirre­d­uan@nst.com.my

POLITI­CIS­ING the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and other projects in­volv­ing China could cur­tail the op­por­tu­nity to boost the in­come and so­cio-eco­nomic well­be­ing of Malaysians.

East Coast Eco­nomic Re­gion Devel­op­ment Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Seri Je­basingam Is­sace John said there was never an is­sue of selling off Malaysia’s sovereignty via in­vest­ments from China, as claimed on so­cial me­dia.

He said the matter should in­stead be viewed pos­i­tively due to the cre­ation of new jobs for res­i­dents here via China’s in­vest­ment in Al­liance Steel (M) Sdn Bhd, at the Malaysia-China Kuantan In­dus­trial Park (MCKIP) here, which in­volves RM5.6 bil­lion.

“As can be seen at the Al­liance Steel Job Car­ni­val today, around 4,000 job open­ings in var­i­ous fields were opened to res­i­dents of the East Coast Eco­nomic Re­gion (ECER) and this is a pos­i­tive thing.

“This is dif­fer­ent than what is por­trayed in de­bates on so­cial me­dia where there was crit­i­cism against in­vest­ments and projects from China, as peo­ple def­i­nitely ben­e­fited from get­ting jobs as well as en­trepreneur­ship,” he said af­ter the open­ing of the Al­liance Steel Job Car­ni­val here yes­ter­day.

State Health, Hu­man Re­sources and Spe­cial Tasks Com­mit­tee chair­man Datuk Norol Azali Su­laiman opened the car­ni­val. Present was Al­liance Steel project deputy chief Hu Jiu Lin.

Je­basingam was re­spond­ing to al­le­ga­tions against the ECRL project, launched at the Kota SAS Cen­tral Sta­tion here on Wed­nes­day.

On that day, Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak per­formed the ground­break­ing of the RM55 bil­lion public trans­porta­tion project that seeks to boost eco­nomic devel­op­ment of the east coast states of Pa­hang, Tereng­ganu and Ke­lan­tan.

The am­bi­tious project, in­volv­ing the con­struc­tion of a 688km

rail net­work, is spear­headed by the con­trac­tor, China Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Con­struc­tion Com­pany Ltd (CCCC), with the co­op­er­a­tion of Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd.

Norol Azali said in­vest­ment

from China would not only lead to Malaysia’s eco­nomic growth, but also in­di­rectly ex­pose its ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions to new knowl­edge.

“I be­lieve they (ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions) can ac­quire new

knowl­edge and ex­per­tise such as through Al­liance Steel, which can help the country (Malaysia) de­velop a highly skilled work­force and hu­man cap­i­tal,” he said.

PIX BY ASYRAF SAWAL

Par­tic­i­pants at the ca­reer car­ni­val or­gan­ised by Al­liance Steel (M) Sdn Bhd at the Sul­tan Ah­mad Shah In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Kuantan yes­ter­day. (In­set) East Coast Eco­nomic Re­gion Devel­op­ment Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Seri Je­basingam Is­sace John.

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