New Straits Times
“In six years, the ECRL will be up and running to help balance growth between the east coast and west coast states.”
DATUK SERI DARWIS ABDUL RAZAK, Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd chief executive officer
MALAYSIA Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) says the RM55 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is making remarkable progress since its launch 13 months ago, given the excellent cooperation between state and federal agencies.
MRL chief executive officer Datuk Seri Darwis Abdul Razak said the rail link, which spans 688km and will connect Kelantan to Port Klang, was on schedule for completion in 2024.
“We have made remarkable progress over the past 13 months, which also includes the process of giving out jobs to local contractors. In six years, the ECRL will be up and running to help balance growth between east coast and west coast states,” he said recently.
Upon completion, ECRL would boast one of the world’s most sophisticated train signalling systems, a full coverage radio system, centralised train controls and fibre optic cable infrastructure, he said.
Darwis said ECRL had set the tone for economic spin-offs and creating positive social impact for east coast states.
“It will be a catalyst for economic equality between the west and east coasts as it will stimulate investment, spur commercial activities, create jobs, facilitate quality education and boost tourism in Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan,” he said.
On the progress made so far, he said work has commenced on all eight sections from Kota Baru in Kelantan to the Integrated Transport Terminal (ITT) in Gombak under Phase 1.
Phase 1 of the project involves the development of 600.3km of rail lines in four states, starting from Kota Baru to ITT Gombak.
The preparatory works include clearing land, earthworks, constructing the rail line foundation, building base and satellite camps, creating road access and erecting embankments.
He said Phase 1 would see the construction of 12 passenger sta- tions, three freight stations and seven combined passenger and freight stations.
“From Kota Baru to Kerteh, Terengganu, there will be five bridges which are 6.3km above ground, as well as viaducts to prevent flooding. The rail line will also cut through the Titiwangsa range to connect to ITT Gombak,” he said.
The second phase involved the development of a 88km rail line from Kota Baru to Pengkalan Kubur in Kelantan and from ITT Gombak to Port Klang in Selangor, he said.
He said Phase 2 would see the construction of two passenger stations and two combined passenger and freight stations.
Asked how MRL, as project owner, would ensure that jobs would be awarded to Malaysian sub-contractors so the construction of ECRL benefits locals, Darwis said about 30 per cent of the engineering and construction work would be undertaken by local contractors.
Successful applicants in the exercise would be notified to proceed to subsequent stages leading to the tender submission.
“Preference will be given to the respective states’ registered contractors who are shortlisted to submit competitive tenders,” he said.
As at end November, 25 local contractors have been appointed, including HSS Integrated Sdn Bhd, which won a RM83 million contract to provide supervising consultancy services for Package 1, which covers the first 232km of the ECRL route.
HSS Integrated had previously provided preliminary design consultancy services for the first two phases of the route.
Darwis said that some 30 per cent of civil works packages would be awarded by China Communication Construction Company, the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC), or turnkey contractor, for ECRL, to Malaysian contractors in line with the government’s commitment for local players to tap the ECRL project.
These work packages include site clearing, construction of site offices and worker accommodation, earthworks, drainage, foundation, soil improvement works and roadworks, including pavements and street lighting.
It also includes building works and tunnelling, including blasting, track laying and system and signalling works, including substation construction, poles, piers and duct installations as well as signages and traffic management.