ECRL seen driv­ing growth in east coast

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - News -

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

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