North v South tussle over ECRL alignment

A map showing the southern alignment of the ECRL central section, through Negeri Sembilan and Selangor.

PETALING JAYA: Government officials appear to be caught in a tussle over the alignment of a crucial central section of the East Coast Rail Link that will eventually link Port Klang to Kota Bharu.

The question to be decided is whether the central section of the rail line should take a northern approach through Gombak and Bentong, or a southern approach through Bangi-Kajang and Mentakab.

Transport minister Wee Ka Siong said in a television interview tonight that Pahang menteri besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail had proposed last month that the line follow the original alignment through Gombak and Bentong.

Yesterday an official of Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd was quoted as saying that a change to the original alignment had been proposed. In response, Jelebu MP Jalaluddin Alias of Umno said today he was against the idea and preferred the southern approach, as decided by the Pakatan Harapan government.

Wee said Wan Rosdy had mooted the idea of reverting to the northern approach at a meeting last month with menteris besar of affected states.

“The prime minister has requested that the transport ministry suggest the preferred route alignment, in the north or the south,” Wee said in an 8TV interview. “But no final decision has been made yet.”

The realignment was made last year when the Pakatan Harapan government shortened the total length by 40km to 648km and changed the alignment of the central section to run through Mentakab in Pahanag, to Jelebu and Kuala Kelawang in Negeri Sembilan, on to Bangi and Kajang in Selangor before going on to Putrajaya and Port Klang.

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