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Thursday, 10 August 2017

(NST) ECRL set to boost Terengganu transformation plan


KUALA TERENGGANU: The RM55 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), connecting Gombak in Selangor to Tumpat in Kelantan, will tremendously boost Terengganu’s New Transformation (TTB) plan.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman said the mere fact that ECRL would pass through Terengganu have stations in Chukai, Dungun and here would provide a huge catalyst for development.

“This will definitely speed up the modernisation of the state with various amenities for infrastructure, logistics, communications, commerce and trade. It will also spur socio-economic growth and transform Terengganu towards a first-class region to work and live in,” he said at the announcement of the establishment of the Terengganu Petroleum Council, at Wisma Darul Iman.

He was responding to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s comment on Wednesday that the ECRL’s 23 stations would provide economic spin-offs to Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan which have a total population of 4.5 million people.

He had said it was set to be both a game-changer and mindset-changer for Malaysia, as it would cut down travel time between the east and west coasts.

Najib had said the ECRL journey from the Integrated Transport Terminal (ITT) in Gombak to Kota Baru would take only four hours, compared to the current average of eight hours, or even 12 hours during festive seasons.

Razif sadi the ECRL connection will have a greater economic impact on the state and help boost industries along its route, thus creating more job opportunities for ‘anak-anak Terengganu’ (Terengganu-born residents).

“Additionally, the ECRL’s journey through various coastal towns will be a big boost for the local tourism industry, thus raising the people’s socio-economic status,” he said.

The ECRL is expected to be completed by 2030 and will benefit many local contractors who can secure various projects in relation to it.

“With a large number of businessmen and tourists expected from China in the near future, the ECRL will ease travel between the east and west coasts of the peninsula as an alternative mode of transportation, including for bulk cargo shipment via Terengganu’s port of Kemaman.”

The ECRL is a joint venture between Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd and China Communications Construction Company Ltd.