KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 — Dr Azman Ibrahim wants the federal government to reconsider axing the multi-billion ringgit East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), saying the project should continue even at a reduced cost.
The Terengganu government executive council member in charge of state agriculture, agro-based industry and rural development said it would be a waste to cancel the project altogether when a lot of work had been done.
“As a member of the state administration, I strongly hope that the government will reconsider the decision to cancel the ECRL project,” Dr Azman wrote in an open letter published by PAS-owned daily Harakah yesterday.
He pointed out that though the project was approved by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, the new PAS-led state government was in favour of it.
The Jabi assemblyman said the ECRL cancellation would have an immense socio-economic impact on the state.
“We know there is a Bauk hill that has been drilled down for tunnels, land acquisition approval has been given by the state government, the depot has been built in several locations as well as many other works that have been made.
“Not only that, people are losing their jobs and the biggest one is to deny three Opposition states; Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan to embrace the socioeconomic impact upon the implementation of this project,” he wrote.
Dr Azman also noted the heavy financial cost in compensation for the project cancellation and insisted it was still not too late to reconsider continuing with the ECRL.
“Our expertise can be utilised to find a way to reduce costs but not a cancellation decision,” he added.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced the decision to cancel the ECRL and other China-backed infrastructure projects in Beijing earlier this week, saying Malaysia could not afford them.