Rail boost for homestay business in Dungun

Workers standing next to the tunnel during the relaunch of ECRL in Dungun, Terengganu. Homestay programme operators are among those who are excited as the implementation of ECRL could boost tourism in the area. — Filepic

DUNGUN: After a long wait, the people of Terengganu can now sigh with relief as the high-impact East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project has been relaunched.

The excitement is definitely felt by those in Dungun district, which will have an ECRL station at Batu 7 here, about 2km from the main road. Homestay programme operators are among those who are excited as the implementation of ECRL could boost tourism in the area and have a positive impact on their business.

Mahani Mohamad, 51, who has been operating a private homestay for eight years, said besides Rantau Abang there were many more tourist destinations in the area such as Pulau Tenggol, Pantai Teluk Gadong, Pantai Batu Pelanduk and Taman Tasik Tanjung Sura.

However, she said the lack of public transport prevented many foreign tourists from visiting these places.

“It is difficult for tourists to come to Dungun as there is no other mode of public transport besides buses or taxis, and their services are irregular.

“We hope that with the ECRL station in place, it will be easier for both local and foreign tourists to travel to Dungun,” she said.

Wan Abdul Manan Wan Mohd Nasir, 60, said he was confident that besides creating new economic opportunities, the construction of the ECRL station will also boost the tourism sector in Dungun, and that homestay operators would benefit.

“All homestay programme operators are now facing a drop in the number of visitors.

“They are depending only on visitors who book accommodation when they come to attend weddings in the area or during school holidays.

“I hope the construction of this station can be accelerated because it will help boost our businesses” he said.

Meanwhile, Dungun Municipal Council (MPD) president Lizan Che Mat said the council was pleased with the location of the station as it would benefit about 186,000 residents here.

He said the implementation of large-scale projects such as ECRL would have a positive socio-economic impact on Dungun, including in terms of urbanisation and economic landscape changes.

“ECRL will speed up the urbanisation process and development, and its impact can be enjoyed by all parties including the state government and the people,” he said.

The ECRL was suspended in July last year as the Government wanted to renegotiate the cost of the project and its implementation aspects with the developer.

As a result of the renegotiations, the Government saved RM21.5bil by bringing down the total cost of Phases I and II of the project to RM44bil, from the RM65.5bil initially.

The revised ECRL will now run from Kota Baru to Mentakab, Jelebu, Kuala Kelawang, Bangi/Kajang, Putrajaya and end at Port Klang, covering 648 km, which is 40km shorter than the original route of 688km.

Terengganu will have six stations, at Kampung Raja, Kuala Terengganu, Pengakalan Berangan, Dungun, Kemasik and Chukai comprising four passenger stations and two passenger-cargo stations. — Bernama
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