ECRL seen driving growth in east coast
KUALA LUMPUR: The RM55bil East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project is a worthy investment, especially for those in the east coast as it will change their economy and social life in the long term.
The 688 km project, which links Port Klang, Selangor with Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan, will have 28 stations. It will offer passenger and cargo rail services and is expected to be ready in June 2024.
At a recent groundbreaking ceremony for the Tunjong ECRL station, Kelantan Federal Action Council chairman Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the construction of the ECRL station would transform the town into a new economic growth centre for the people in the state.
Echoing this, a Kelantanese, Mohd Farhan Hafiz Nozeli, 30, said on a macro level, the project would help domestic construction players with its estimated RM16bil contracts and boost the tourism sector.
“The freight transportation sector can also take advantage of this while on micro level it is expected to provide especially skilled jobs for the locals.
“The ECRL will be a platform to provide more jobs and at the same time improve infrastructure along the routes for the rakyat,” he told Bernama.
A lecturer from Kuantan, Pahang, Juliawati Mohd Yunus, 35, said the project has affected the market. “In the property industry, the house prices in Kuantan have started to rise by up to 10% in less than five years. Luckily, I have already secured a unit in Kota Sri Ahmad Shah, which will be one of the ECRL stations and I am excited to see the changes in my area.
“But going back to the idea of this project, which aims to enhance the local and the small and medium industries, I can see that surely something is going to change. There will be no more long hours to transport the rubber products from Johor rubber manufacturing factory to fulfil the demand in Kelantan.
“Not to say about the definite changes around the area as it will be developed to better serve the nation. The Tunjong ECRL station is just a km from Kota Baru-Gua Musang highway and it will be a popular stopping point for road users when shopping malls, other facilities and infrastructure are developed,” she said.
However, Juliawati said, there were still people who could not understand why the government decided to opt for transportation by trains when upgrading existing highways could benefit both industry and the rakyat.
“My family and I often drive to Kuala Lumpur and we can only do it at night after work and sometimes the highway is congested and at times you will see cows grazing along the highway and this is dangerous.
“By using ECRL, we can arrive at our destination safely. My other concern is the fares,” she said.
Siti Safiah Ismail, 28, from Terengganu welcomed the project saying it would help her aunties sell keropok lekor to commuters using the train.
“For us micro entrepreneurs, we move often in the east coast area and train is the suitable avenue for us as it could transport our products and deliver to our clients in good shape. The fact that the ECRL can shorten travel time is a bonus and it can boost our business as we can deliver more fresh products to the customers and increase our travel frequencies,” she said. — Bernama