PETALING JAYA: Tunnels to carry water from Pahang to Selangor should be built alongside the East Coast Rail Link so as to maximise the potential of the project, a business analyst and consultant said today.
The consultant, Hoo Kee Ping, said that the ECRL project on its own would not be of benefit to Malaysians in the long run even if construction costs were cut by RM10 billion.
The ECRL project was approved by the government of Najib Razak in 2016 and was projected to cost RM55 billion.
However, prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has suspended the project saying the government would be saddled with debts of RM130 billion if the project was to be carried out on existing terms.
Hoo, who says he is an independent economist, said China has the experience and the expertise to build the water tunnels, which could be bored through the mountains of Genting Highlands to bring water from Pahang to Selangor.
He said there was plenty of fresh water in the Pahang river that was not being fully utilised and which could ease Selangor’s water problems.
The government’s financial adviser, Daim Zainuddin, who was recently appointed to head the ECRL negotiations, has said the project is becoming closer to reality.
He said the government is expected to finalise the ECRL project early next month with cost savings of about RM10 billion, with new commercial elements which would have a greater impact on Malaysian companies and people.
The 688km project will link Port Klang in Selangor to Pengkalan Kubor in Kelantan.