There’s no downsizing of ECRL project, says Loke

THERE is no downsizing of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, says Anthony Loke (pic) who reiterates that the government managed to reduce the project cost to RM44bil from its original RM65.5bil.

The Transport Minister said the government took immediate measures to renegotiate the project direction with China and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) as the main contractor of the project.

He said the RM21.5bil reduction was achieved after a series of review of the engineering aspects of the project, through a technical study conducted jointly by the Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd and CCCC.

“The main outcome is the realignment of the route between Kota Baru and Dungun, and between Mentakab and Port Klang.

“Only Kota Baru-Wakaf Baru-Pengkalan Kubor route was not implemented as it does not add huge value to the railway network at the moment.

“However, the Northern Connection Line will be studied in the future,” he told Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) during Question Time.

Loke said stations that had been cancelled were Bentong, Gombak Utara, ITT Gombak, Telaga Papan, Jelawat, Pengkalan Kubor and Wakaf Baru.

“The new stations that have been identified along the route are Bangi/Kajang, Putrajaya Sentral, Port Klang as well as other stations that have been proposed in Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

“So, there is no downsizing of the scope of the project,” he said.

Dr Wee had asked the Transport Ministry whether the cost saving of the ECRL project was due to any downsizing which led to the reduction in the construction cost of the project.

Loke said since the initial contract was done via government to government (G2G), the government was forced to renegotiate within its limits, to ensure that the project would continue as planned.

“To determine the direction of ECRL, the government had the option to renegotiate or pay the compensation of RM21.78bil.

“The government decides to go back to the discussion table with the government of China in order to get a better offer from the initial agreement and managed to save RM21.5bil,” he said.

Earlier, Khoo Phoay Tiong (PH-Kota Melaka) tried to get Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof to strike out Dr Wee’s question from being answered in Parliament.

Khoo had raised the objection under Standing Order 23, saying that it had specifically named Finance Minister’s political secretary Tony Pua, in part of his question, which was against the House rules.

Source: TheStar