Najib to PH: You say ECRL is a waste, but Penang highway costs more

The PH government has put on hold the ECRL project pending a review. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak today questioned Pakatan Harapan (PH) for spending billions on a highway in Penang yet accusing him of wasting money on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).

He said 688km ECRL, which comes at a price tag of RM55 billion, worked out to RM80 million per km, while the RM7.5 billion Pan-Island Link 1 (PIL-1) in Penang would cost RM385 million per km to build, and if the total cost rise to RM9 billion, it would be RM461 million per km.

He said PH claimed the ECRL was too expensive, although the total amount included the cost of trains and construction of 27 stations and 59km of tunnels, and would benefit millions of Malaysians in five states.

He said the Penang highway was also more expensive than the Kinrara–Damansara Expressway (Kidex) which PH had protested when they were in the opposition.

“The cost of RM461 million per km is far more expensive than the RM161 million per km for the proposed Kidex project which DAP leaders accused me in 2015 of extravagance, claiming it would be the most costly highway in Malaysia,” said Najib.

Kidex, a proposed elevated 14.9km highway, was cancelled by the PH-led Selangor state government in 2015.

Najib also questioned the PH government over its buyout of a private water supply company in Selangor for RM2.55 billion, 10 times more than the original offer.

He said at the same time, PH was not keen on giving living subsidies to Felda settlers and fishermen and increase the salaries of civil servants.

“This proves that the incessant attacks and lies made before GE14 hid the truth to fool the people,” he said.