PKR Youth executive council member Mohd Aizuddin Ariffin has suggested that the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) be continued, but with certain revisions, in line with the state of the country’s finances.
“I suggest that this project be continued so that the rakyat on the East Coast – Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan – get to enjoy rapid development and not be left behind economically.
“On top of that, I think this project can create job opportunities in line with the Pakatan Harapan manifesto,” he said in a statement today.
Aizuddin recommended that the ECRL project be executed in stages, highlighting that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said the project could continue on a smaller scale.
He said if the ECRL project were to get back on track, it should involve Malaysian employees at every level.
He added that local contractors and suppliers should be given priority in doing sub-package work by the main contractor, and that there should be comprehensive training programmes or technology transfer throughout.
Aizuddin said he remains optimistic that the price of the ECRL project can be lowered through open tender and by splitting the 688-km project into several packages.
“I am of the opinion that under the Pakatan Harapan government, big-scale projects will be brought to Parliament.
“This effort is to reform the administration and strengthen the parliamentary institution,” he said.
Mahathir said in an interview on Monday that Putrajaya is caught in a dilemma, as it lacks the financial means to continue with the project, and because any formal cancellation would incur a hefty compensation sum.
Saying that Malaysia and China are still in discussions over the ECRL, he admitted that it would be difficult to stick to Harapan’s pledge to terminate the project.
“But this is not easy as we were bound by the contract, and could not terminate the project easily as we have no money to pay China.
“We have paid a lot of money to China after the postponement,” he said.