Malaysiakini – Need for final report before decision on ECRL project – Loke

BATU GAJAH (Jan 4): The final report on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project is paramount and must be thoroughly viewed before any decision can be made on going ahead with the project, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said yesterday.

“I think it is fair that we need a final report before we make any decision. The Chinese Ambassador (Bai Tian) mentioned that both sides have a working committee to negotiate before making any decision. So far, Malaysian companies have no final decision,” he said after visiting the Rolling Stock Centre of the China Railway Rolling Stock Corp (CRRC) here.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in an interview with Sin Chew Daily on Monday, said the ECRL project, which was suspended last July, could be continued on a smaller scale if China agreed to it.

Dr Mahathir said the two countries were still in talks on the matter and had not arrived at a solution.

Meanwhile, Loke said Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) would receive nine KTM Electric Train Service (ETS) sets in the second quarter of this year.

“There will be more ETS coverage, especially on the Kuala Lumpur-Ipoh-Butterworth route. The public can enjoy more rides because the ETS is very popular right now,” he said.

Bai Tian said most countries were discussing having rail transportation as it had become one of the affordable means of transportation, and Malaysia should also follow suit.

Asked when the report would be completed, Bai Tian said he did not have a specific timeline on the matter.

Loke attended a closed-door briefing by the Malaysian Railway Academy here and visited the ETS depot before returning to Kuala Lumpur in an ETS.

In KUANTAN, Pahang Basic Amenities, Public Delivery System and Innovation Committee chairman Datuk Seri Norol Azali Sulaiman said Dr Mahathir’s announcement on the ECRL project gave renewed hope to the people of the East Coast for a better and more systematic transportation system.

“It does not matter if the project is big or small. We want it to have an impact on development in the East Coast, especially Pahang,” he told Bernama.