PUTRAJAYA: China Communications Construction Ltd (CCCC), the main contractor for the 688km East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), has allocated RM10 million for the implementation of the Wildlife Management Plan for wildlife conservation and mitigation works.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the Wildlife Management Plan would, among others, monitor the impact on wildlife and their habitats along key stretches of the ECRL alignment which links Port Klang in Selangor to Pangkalan Kubu, Kelantan.
He said a memorandum of agreement (MoA) between CCCC and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan), which entails environmentally-friendly initiatives, was to ensure that the project would proceed with adequate environmental safeguards.
Wan Junaidi said the natural resources and environment ministry (NRE) had also been working with the ECRL project team over the past 12 months to improve its alignment and design.
“The original design involved a substantial loss of forest reserves but modifications spearheaded by NRE, environmental experts together with Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd, reduced losses by up to 90%.
“As a result of the reduction in loss of forest reserves, many important forest habitats have been saved,” he said in his speech at the signing of the MoA yesterday.
The MoA was signed by Perhilitan director-general Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim and China Communications Construction ECRL Sdn Bhd executive managing director Bai Yinzhan.
Yinzhan said CCCC was committed to ensuring that the ECRL left only minimal impact on the environment.
“We are confident that with our extensive experience and advanced knowledge, we have the ability to develop our project without putting wildlife and its natural habitats at risk,” he said.
He added that CCCC would build wildlife underpasses at 29 strategic locations to enable wildlife to roam freely despite the railway line passing through.
The ECRL rail project will cut travel time between the east and west of the peninsula to four hours from the current 12 hours. The track is expected to be completed by June 2022 and operational by mid-2024.