THE cost of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project has been reduced by RM11 bil from the original cost of RM85.97 bil in 2016, according to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Former transport minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong estimated the project would cost RM50.27 bil in 2021, following changes to its alignment.
“There was a ‘slight addition’ in costs due to the need for increased funding for the project’s realignment,” FMT reported Anwar as saying at a press conference.
Anwar further noted that the revised cost of the project is still lower than the original figure reported in 2016.
“Our decision is to continue with the project that has been approved, but without making any more changes because that will only delay its implementation and complicate existing works and negotiations.
“I congratulate the Transport, Finance and Works Ministries for helping to expedite negotiations and being able to reduce the total costs compared to what was approved in 2016,” said Anwar.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook stated on Dec 6 that the project will be continued despite the change in administration following the Nov 19 general election.
The 665km rail network will travel through four states: Selangor, Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.
Furthermore, during Loke’s tenure as transport minister from May 2018 to February 2020 under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration, the PH government temporarily halted the ECRL project when it came to power in 2018, after construction had begun in August 2017. Work resumed in 2019.
During the recent election campaign, Loke had pledged that the project would not be shelved if PH formed the government.
Main photo credit: New Straits Times