23 June 2022

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob (fourth from left) at the launch of the ECRL Genting tunnel construction work in Bentong. (Bernama pic)
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob (fourth from left) at the launch of the ECRL Genting tunnel construction work in Bentong. (Bernama pic)

The transport ministry (MoT) will discuss with stakeholders to work out reasonable fares for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), which is expected to start operating in January 2027, said Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the fares should be people-friendly, like what is offered by the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd electric train service (ETS).

Apart from that, Ismail said Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) would be generating additional income that could help cover operating costs and repayment of the construction loan from China Exim Bank.

“A 50:50 joint-venture company between MRL and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) will be set up to ensure the success of the ECRL operations, including jointly bearing operational costs and risks.

“This joint-venture company will provide technical assistance and enhance the transfer of railway technology, as well as jointly operate and maintain the ECRL for the long term,” he said when launching the Pahang ECRL Genting tunnel construction work here.

Also present were transport minister Wee Ka Siong, finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, Chief Secretary to the Government Zuki Ali, who is also MRL chairman, MRL chief executive officer Darwis Razak and CCCC vice-president Sun Ziyu.

Describing ECRL as a game-changer, Ismail said it would offer a more modern, safe and efficient way to travel to the east coast with a speed of 160kph.

With 20 stations, consisting of 10 passenger stations and a mix of passenger and cargo stations, the ECRL would connect cities, towns as well as industrial parks to ensure a more effective and well-connected public transport system, especially in rural areas.

Apart from that, the prime minister said, the implementation of the project, which covered 665km from Kelantan to Selangor and built at a cost of RM50.27 billion, also saw the involvement of more than 1,500 local companies comprising contractors, suppliers and consultants.

This was in line with the agreement between MRL and CCCC to appoint local subcontractors and suppliers for at least 40% of civil works estimated to be worth up to RM10 billion, he said, adding that as of last April, more than RM7 billion in contracts had been offered for ECRL projects in the east coast states.

“CCCC has also agreed to pay special attention to the appointment of small contractors (Grade G1-G3).

“A special committee for the participation of local and Bumiputera contractors in the ECRL project has been set up to monitor and ensure the effective participation of qualified local companies,” he said.

Ismail said the project had the potential to produce more locals skilled in the rail industry through the ECRL Industrial Skills Training Programme (PLKI-ECRL), which was expected to open up opportunities to 5,000 young people from the east coast.

On the Genting tunnel, he said the construction of the 16.39km-long twin-bore tunnel, which is set to be the longest rail tunnel in the region, was one of the main components of the project as it would complete the land bridge for the transportation of cargo from Kuantan to Port Klang.

The tunnel is expected to be ready in about three years.

Source: www.freemalaysiatoday.com

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