‘ECRL FARE TO BE AFFORDABLE’
Govt to subsidise cost of operation to keep fares low, says Mustapa
THE government will ensure that the rail fare for the East Coast Railway Link (ECRL) project from Gombak in Selangor to Kelantan will be affordable to the people.
State Federal Action Council chairman Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the cost of operation of the train service would be high, but the government was willing to subsidise it, depending on its capability.
“No country makes a profit from public transport.
There needs to be government assistance. Like the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), it is subsidised at least by 50 per cent, although I don’t know the actual figure.
“Just like healthcare services... the government spent RM22 billion but collected only RM700 million from the people,” he said after chairing the council’s meeting here yesterday.
He was commenting on statements by the opposition that the high cost of the project would lead to a high fares.
Mustapa, who is also international trade and industry minister, said the important thing was the government cared for the people and gave assurance that the fare would be affordable.
However, he said, the people should be realistic and not expect the fare to stay the same for years due to rising costs.
He said the fare charged for the service would not cover the cost of the project.
“It will be subsidised. If not it will be very expensive,” he said.
On another matter, Mustapa said the Kelantan government had started the process of acquiring 445ha of land in the state for the construction of the railway line and five stations.
“Kelantan is the first state to acquire the land. We thank the state government for its commitment to assist the Federal Government in the project,” he said.
Mustapa said the state would have 70km of railway line from the border of Terengganu with the first phase covering 46km. The remaining stretch will be built in the second phase.
He said the first phase would have three stations — in Tok Bali, Jelawat and here. In the second phase, there would be two stations — in Wakaf Baru and Pengkalan Kubur — in the Tumpat district.
Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed