ECRL on track, construction cost slashed to RM44 billion

The 688km project was initially suspended by the Pakatan Harapan government due to its high cost. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya today announced a reduction of RM21.5 billion in construction cost for Phase 1 and 2 of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project.

It said the cost of construction for these phases was reduced from RM65.5 billion to RM44 billion following the signing of a supplementary agreement (SA) between Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd and China Communications Construction Company Ltd.

“(This) will pave the way for the resumption of the ECRL project,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement today.

“The SA, which covered the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning aspects of the ECRL, was achieved after months of negotiations between the companies involved, as well as the governments of Malaysia and China.

“This reduction will surely benefit Malaysia and lighten the burden on the country’s financial position.”

The Pakatan Harapan government initially suspended the 688km ECRL project due to its high cost.

However, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng recently said negotiations were going well, and that the project would continue if the cost of construction could be reduced to RM35 billion.

On Monday, Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali expressed hope that the negotiations would conclude before Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad leaves for China for the Belt and Road Forum, which begins on April 26.