BEIJING: Several stations along the new route for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) have been scrapped, the prime minister’s special envoy Daim Zainuddin said.
He said this included the Gombak station.
The new alignment will have a new station in Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan, he told the Malaysian media at the Malaysian embassy here today.
The ECRL new route is also shorter by 40km, reducing its total length from 688km to 648km.
Daim said the double tracking has been maintained, as in the original agreement.
Daim, who is also Council of Eminent Persons chairman, said the new deal saw the cost reduced from RM98 million to RM68 million per km.
The ECRL will link Port Klang in Selangor to Pengkalan Kubor in Kelantan.
Daim said the new alignment will be Kota Bharu-Mentakab, Jelebu, Kuala Kelawang, Bangi/Kajang, Putrajaya-Port Klang.
Earlier, the Prime Minister’s Office had announced that the construction cost for Phases 1 and 2 of the ECRL had now been slashed to RM44 billion — a reduction of RM21.5 billion from its original cost of RM65.5 billion.
It said this followed the signing of a supplementary agreement between Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd and China Communications Construction Company Ltd.
The project was initiated by the previous Barisan Nasional government and was suspended last year by the newly-elected Pakatan Harapan government due to its high cost.
The ECRL supplementary agreement, which had been negotiated since July last year, was signed here at 11am local time.
Daim said the ECRL construction will resume as soon as possible.
Asked whether the loan interest will be reduced, he said the details of the agreement will be announced by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a media briefing on Monday.
“In general, the amount will be reduced as a result of the lower new loans,” he said.
Daim believed the new agreement will further enhance Malaysia-China ties that have entered the 45th year.
“We believe this creates renewed confidence among Chinese investors to continue investing in Malaysia,” he said.
Asked whether this morning’s meeting also discussed China’s interest in buying Malaysia’s palm oil, he said the negotiations focused on the ECRL and did not touch on any other issues.
“I am tasked with finalising the ECRL project. On other matters, you have to ask the prime minister himself,” he said.