ECRL project back on track, announcement expected tomorrow

 The Pakatan Harapan government had suspended the 688km ECRL due to its high cost. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The controversial East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project may be back on track with an expected announcement to be made tomorrow in Beijing.

A source closely linked to the project said a high-level Malaysian team is in Beijing to tie up loose ends over the previously inflated project.

“The delegation is in Beijing now to finalise talks on reducing the cost of the project.

“As of now, it is a go. If all details are agreed by both parties, a joint announcement will be made tomorrow,” he told FMT.

The source added the main contention is the cost of the project, which both parties are deliberating on before the announcement is made, adding that the talks are in the final stages.

He added that “if everything goes well”, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is expected to visit China to ink the deal, but added the dates will only be confirmed later.

On Monday, Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali had said that it was hoped that the negotiations would conclude before Mahathir leaves for China for the Belt and Road Forum, which starts on April 26.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had hinted that the negotiations were going well and had said the alignment of the rail line may even be rerouted to benefit Negeri Sembilan.

He had also said the project would go on if the cost of construction could be reduced from RM66 billion to RM35 billion.

Upon taking over Putrajaya, the Pakatan Harapan government had suspended the 688km ECRL due to its high cost.