Kuantan MP does not deny benefits accruing from ECRL

KUANTAN, June 5 (Bernama) -- The Member of Parliament (MP) for Kuantan, Fuziah Salleh does not deny that the construction of the East Coast Railway Line (ECRL) stretching a total of 688 kilometres could bring much benefits to the people in the East Coast.

However, Fuziah said the project must be studied in detail particularly from the aspect of the cost to ensure it truly gave a positive impact to the nation and local population in particular.

"From before, my stand had always been to welcome the ECRL which was capable of creating a good network of communications in the East Coast.

"We realise that we don't have a good communication network...it takes about three or four hours to travel to Kuala Lumpur by road and using the ECRL, I believe it can open up ways to the people including tourists.

"It's not impossible (the East Coast) can become the international tourism hub in future...it is only that we are sensitive regarding the excessive cost," she said when making a visit to Kuantan Port, here today.

During the visit, Fuziah was given a briefing by the top management of Pelabuhan Kuantan Consortium Sdn Bhd on the operations and upgrading works carried out at the port.

At the same time, Fuziah hoped that the ECRL project could give more profits to local contractors compared to the outsiders if the project continued.

"ECRL certainly can create many economic opportunities...but I am made to understand previously that only 30 out of the 60 per cent infrastructural construction projects are given to local contractors.

"As such, a review of the contract agreement must be made as it certainly could give benefits to the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park, Kuantan Port and members of the public if it was properly implemented," she said.

The project, scheduled to be ready in June 2024, would have 28 stations by offering passenger and cargo railway services from Port Klang, Selangor; passing through Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.

It is owned by Malaysia Rail Link Sdn. Bhd. (MRL), which is wholly owned by the Finance Ministry and carried out in collaboration with a company owned by the Chinese government, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), which is responsible as the engineering, purchasing, construction and implementation contractor.

However, the project was said to be cancelled if the Pakatan Harapan coalition were to win the 14th General Election as it described the project as wasteful as there was no necessity for the facility to be provided to the people in the East Coast.