East Coast Rail project wasn’t discussed in Cabinet, works minister says

Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof denied a claim that Putrajaya wanted to double the cost of the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) project. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 — Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof denied today Sarawak Report’s claim that Putrajaya wants to double the cost of the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) project from RM30 billion to RM60 billion in order to pay off 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) debts.

In a report today, the London-based whistleblower site, also citing several documents, claimed that the ECRL project would be awarded to the Chinese state-owned company China Communications Construction Company.

“I don’t give a damn [about] Sarawak Report,” Fadillah told Malay Mail Online.

“It was never discussed in Cabinet,” he added.

Sarawak Report claimed that the deal — which also allegedly involves paying off the debts of companies related to businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low — was due to be approved by Cabinet tomorrow.

Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) CEO Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah told UK-based publication International Railway Journal last May that SPAD was currently in the request for information process for contracts to build the East Coast Railway that is aimed at developing the infrastructure in the East Coast Economic Region.

He reportedly said the 600km-line would connect Kuala Lumpur with Bentong in Pahang, run through Terengganu and link with Tumpat in Kelantan.

Local business paper The Malaysian Reserve reported back in 2014 that the RM30 billion ECRL project has seen interest from local companies like YTL Corp Bhd, MMC Corp Bhd, Gamuda Bhd, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd, UEM Group Bhd and WCT Holdings Bhd.