Govt to relook ECRL’s cost implications, environment concerns

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong says the two proposed alignments for the ECRL are being studied to determine the constraints.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will look at cost implications and environmental concerns before finalising the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) alignment, Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said.

He said the proposed ECRL alignment is divided into three sections – Kota Bharu to Dungun (Section A), Dungun to Mentakab (Section B) and Mentakab to Port Klang (Section C).

For Section C, he said, the government is in the process of finalising the route stations.

“This process needs to look at the viability of the project, the rail connection and the financial implications,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat today.

He was replying to Jalaluddin Alias (BN-Jelebu) who wanted to know if there would be changes to the ECRL alignment to the original proposed alignment changed by the former Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration after coming into power in 2018.

Wee said the government had yet to make a final decision as it needed to carry out comparisons between the two proposed alignments to determine the constraints.

He said talks would also be held with the Selangor government to see how best to move forward with the Section C alignment.

“We will be meeting the Selangor government once again to look at options to ensure it (the alignment) benefits the people of the state,” he said.

The parties will discuss the implications of the present alignment on the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge and Batu Dam and the four Orang Asli settlements compared to only one under the original plan.

Wee said there would not be any land acquisition until the alignment had been finalised.

He said Putrajaya also needed to look at the viability of the project as the present projection was based on a ratio of 30% passengers and 70% cargo.

“If it involves 30% passengers or 70% cargo, then the project will not be viable,” he said.

The Barisan Nasional government had proposed the 640km ECRL, linking Kuantan Port and Port Klang, before the last general election at a cost of RM60 billion. It was scheduled to be completed in 2024.

But the alignment was changed after PH took over the government in May 2018, which saw the cost cut to RM44 billion and the completion date moved to 2026.