BENTONG: A slew of developments is in store for Bentong town in the coming year, including an outer ring road, a central spine road and perhaps soon, a direct railway link to Kuala Lumpur.
MP Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai is appealing to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to consider Bentong as one of the stops in the East Coast Railway Line.
“I’m making an open appeal to Prime Minister Najib. Let’s do this,” he told reporters after launching the inaugural Bentong Carnival.
Liow, who is also Transport Minister, pointed out that Najib’s plans for a Greater Kuala Lumpur would help boost the economy and a railway line will ensure that the spillover is enjoyed by the rakyat in the East Coast.
It was earlier reported that the East Coast Railway Line will be 550km long and link Kuala Lumpur, Kuantan and Tumpat.
Liow admitted that putting Bentong as one of the stops for the railway line would drive up building costs as it would involve the construction of a tunnel through the Titiwangsa Range.
However, he said the people in Bentong should not be left out as other areas benefit from the railway line.
“During Tun Razak’s time, he built the Karak highway, linking the East and West coast. That was his legacy.
“The railway line from Kuantan to Kuala Lumpur will be Najib’s legendary achievement. That is why I’m pleading with the Prime Minister to consider the project,” said Liow.
He envisioned Bentong, which is situated around 70km away from Kuala Lumpur, becoming a satellite town of the capital city.
“Once the railway line is completed, people in Bentong can continue to stay here and commute to work in Kuala Lumpur every day,” he said.
The railway project’s feasibility study was in its last phase and would be unveiled soon, he said.
Liow also acknowledged that given Bentong’s increasing popularity as a tourist spot, the town was plagued with massive congestion, especially during the weekends.
One of the ways to reduce congestion was to build a central spine road, which is planned to extend from Bentong all the way to Gua Musang, Kelantan, he said.
“The central spine road will not be as narrow as the federal roads that are being used now. It will be like a highway,” he said.
Work on the road had started and the stretch between Bentong and Raub was expected to be completed this year, Liow added.
He said a ground-breaking ceremony was expected to be held soon, which will be attended by Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
“The jam here is bad and it is frustrating for everyone here.
“My priority is to ensure Bentong has a good transportation plan to prevent it,” he said.