KUALA LUMPUR: Work on the Gemas-Tumpat rail line which was disrupted in 2014 due to flash floods is expected to be completed by mid-2021.
Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said it was initially expected to be completed by end-2019, citing weather conditions, the movement control order and delays by contractors as reason for the hold-up.
Adding that some parts of the line were used by students travelling from Tumpat to Kuala Lipis, he said contractors also had only four hours to carry out their work.
Noting a delay of 25% in some of the work, he said the ministry would summon contractors who failed to adhere to their deadlines.
He was responding to Fadhli Shaari (PAS-Pasir Mas), who asked when the direct train service from Tumpat via Pasir Mas, Tanah Merah to Kuala Lumpur and vice versa would be operational.
Parts of the railway track, bridges and rail stations were severely damaged as a result of the floods.
In June 2018, former Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd CEO Sarbini Tijan said it would be more efficient and cost-effective to revive the Gemas-Tumpat track in the east coast and maximise existing railway assets by rehabilitating the current track than to build the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).
He also said this could be done for under RM3 billion, just over 5% of the price of the ECRL.
Wee said the ECRL line would complete KTM’s rail lines nationwide, reducing travel time by four to five hours.
He also said the ECRL would open up links for cargo and passengers between the east and west coasts.
“We want to have a complete rail network (nationwide),” he said.