ECRL Project Needs More Local Skilled Labour
He believes that the transit-oriented development (TOD) concept, long used in countries like Korea, China and Japan, should also be adopted for the ECRL project.
With the suspension of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project, Malaysia turns its attention at improving its existing railway services and network, reported The Malaysian Reserve.
In fact, it has revived the RM44 billion East Coast Rail Link project, with the alignment adjusted to 640km.
“We will not build the high-speed train yet, but we want to improve the quality of services in our railway system, and that has been done to some extent, by double-tracking and electrification,” said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad after his speech at Technomart Rail 2019.
He pointed that it is not worthwhile for Malaysia to build an HSR for short journeys, but may consider such project if it would run from Johor Baru to Penang or the Thai border.
“For Malaysia at the moment, a high-speed train is not really necessary, especially as it is only within Singapore and Kuala Lumpur…If the line is long enough and saves about two to six hours, then I think a high-speed train may be the answer.”
The prime minister noted that the rail industry is not only a transportation mode for the use of the general population – but can also serve as a catalyst to economic growth.
He revealed that some developed countries such as Russia have experienced significant national development growth, which Malaysia could also replicate.
“Today, with various fast trains servicing the Klang Valley area and beyond, rail travel has reached an unprecedented level of popularity with more than half a million people using a rail-based transportation method daily,” said Dr Mahathir.
“Its socio-economic spillover is tremendous. Proximity to an electric rail service now is a valuable proposition with real commercial benefits…Fast trains boost tourism, increase footfall in retail establishments and increase real estate value.”
Citing reports, the prime minister said values of some residential and commercial properties along rail transport lines in Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding area increased by between 15% and 25%.