Tuesday, 8 August 2017

(NST) Kelantan, Pahang, Terengganu to enjoy 1.5pct GDP growth from ECRL: Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: The East Coast Rail Link project will inject an additional economic boost to Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Describing it as a game changer for the region, he said the three states stand to enjoy an additional one to 1.5 per cent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth on completion of the high-impact project.

He will officiate at the project’s groundbreaking event in Bandar Baru Kuantan tomorrow. The 688km ECRL will connect the east coast states with Greater Klang Valley.

It is estimated to cost about RM55 billion.

Najib said the long term loan which the government received from China was on a competitive rate.

Despite projects like the ECRL, Chinese investments in Malaysia remain at comparatively low levels vis-à-vis other foreign investments.

As of the first quarter of this year, investment from China represented only two per cent of total foreign direct investment (FDI) stock in Malaysia, placing it in the 10th place.

Calling the increasingly politicised and "blown out of proportion" negative talk as politically-motivated, Najib warned that such a view would be bad for Malaysia.

“It is certainly true that China has gained prominence as major foreign investor in Malaysia across a broad base of sectors, including manufacturing, services, ports, railways, real estate, construction, education and energy.”

In May, nine business agreements were signed between Malaysian and Chinese companies, with proposed investments estimated at RM31.3 billion.

This is in additional to 14 memorandums of Understanding relating to the defence, agriculture, education, finance and construction sectors worth RM143.6 billion signed in November last year.

China’s Belt and Road initiative, he said, will be a game changer for the regional economy, creating enormous trade and investment prospects via greater connectivity in sea and land links.