Move to axe ECRL right, says Khalid

Iskandar Shah Mohamed

SHAH ALAM: The cancellation of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project was described as an appropriate move as the deal was lopsided and involved too high a cost.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said the decision was made by the government after deliberation with all parties.

“It is not that we do not want to implement it (ECRL) but the cost is too high. We need to look into what was discussed by Najib (former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak) and if it would really benefit the country.

“A lot of what has been exposed showed that it is lopsided. If we are able to discuss the matter again with China it will be good,” he said.

Khalid said this when met after the Shah Alam parliamentary level Korban Perdana programme held at Masjid Riadhussolihin, in Section 17 here today.

The annual programme saw 14 cows and goats sacrificed to be distributed to the congregation in the area.

Yesterday, the government announced that it had decided to cancel the ECRL and the Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline projects for now.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, at the end of his official visit to China, said he had conveyed Malaysia’s decision to the republic’s leaders, who understood the decision and accepted it.

The ECRL project proposed during Najib’s administration created controversy as its cost had came up to RM70 billion.

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.

On a separate matter, Khalid, who is also Shah Alam member of parliament, said the recommendation of a special committee on the sale of 64 lots of land involving RM4.28 billion by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall without going through an open tender would be handed over to Dr Mahathir.

“Tun Mahathir has returned to Malaysia and InsyaAllah, we will inform him about this matter,” said Khalid. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd