Don't stop the ECRL - Terengganu MB

Helmy Abd Rahman & Zatul Iffah Zolkiply

MARANG: The Pas-led Terengganu government has objected to the Federal Government’s decision to scrap the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project. Menteri Besar Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar said the government should call new tenders for any company interested to undertake the project at a lower cost. “It is a waste to abandon the project just like that as work on it has already started. “Apart from the construction works, land acquisition (for the project) has also been done. In some places, tunnels as deep as 50-metres have been dug,” he said. Samsuri, however, said the state government had yet to be officially informed of the decision. He said the Federal Government should explain its decision in greater detail so that the next course of action could be taken for the benefit of the people. “Our stand is that the ECRL should proceed...however, we respect the Federal Government’s decision and hope to work with it in the best interest of the people,” he said. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday announced that the government had decided to cancel the ECRL and the Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline projects for now. He said Malaysia’s decision had been conveyed to China’s leaders, who understood and accepted it. The ECRL project proposed during former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration created controversy as its cost had hit the RM70 billion mark. The 688km proposed route was to connect Port Klang to the East Coast, going through Kuantan, Pahang and Pengkalan Kubor in Kelantan. Dr Mahathir had before this rejected the project, describing it as a “strange” deal as Malaysia needed to bear a loan from China, aside from hiring contractors from the country. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd