PETALING JAYA: Najib Razak has posed two questions pertaining to the resumption of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) to the Pakatan Harapan government.
The former prime minister wanted to know:
1. If the Chinese company that was awarded the ECRL project received a sales and services tax (SST) exemption from the PH government, similar to what companies involved in building the Gemas twin track to Johor Bharu in the 4th quarter of last year received; and
2. If it is it true that there is a “side agreement” with a Chinese company, as alleged in so-called leaked documents that have been circulating over the last few days, where the company was given several thousand acres of land to develop projects in areas surrounding the ECRL stations.
In a Facebook post, Najib also “thanked” the PH government for “proving” that the cost of the ECRL project is not as low as RM29 billion – a sum previously mentioned by DAP’s Tony Pua, Sarawak Report and the international media.
He also asked the people to judge if his administration’s decision to accelerate the construction of ECRL was justified.
“Do the people want ECRL to be completed only in 2034 or in 2022 as BN planned?
“Is it fair for the east coast states to wait for another 18 years to enjoy such economic development and spillover?
“What is the total employment opportunity, the value of GDP (gross domestic product) and the impact of economic overflow that will be missed during that period?” he asked.
He said accelerating the project would mean the narrowing of the economic gap between the east coast and the west coast could be attained as soon as possible.
Last week, the government announced that the ECRL project was back on track, with construction of Phase 1 and 2 to cost RM44 billion, down from the original cost of RM65.5 billion.