KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong has rubbished criticism from Opposition lawmakers of the deal with China over the development of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).
Dr Wee chided Sim Tze Tzin (PKR-Bayan Baru) over allegations that the proposed project was overpriced.
"What he did was to take the length of the proposed ECRL and divide it by the soft loan to come to RM92mil per kilometre. He is taking a simplistic calculation to come to this figure," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby on Wednesday.
Dr Wee added that China’s offer was lower compared with what was offered by Japan and European countries.
"Besides offering soft loans for the project, China is also willing to transfer their rail technology to us," he said.
Dr Wee, who is Ayer Hitam MP, also rubbished Dr Mohd Hatta Md Ramli's (Amanah-Kuala Krai) claim that it would be more beneficial to build roads rather than develop the ECRL, which he claimed would be under-used.
"The Opposition made the same claim when the North-South Expressway was first built, but look how packed it is with traffic now. The ECRL will help spur trade while bringing development to areas along the line," he said.
Dr Wee also took the Opposition to task for politicising the proposed project.
"The Opposition should not politicise the proposed project and threaten to block it. It is for the benefit of the nation and the rakyat as a whole," he said.
Dr Wee was responding to Rafizi Ramli (PKR-Pandan) who said that the Opposition might block the ECRL project from passing through states under their rule.
On Monday, Malaysia sealed the deal to build the ECRL with China Communication Construction Company Ltd (CCCC).
The RM55bil project will be financed through soft loans from the Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China.
The ECRL will span 620km and will open up trade and economic activities along its route and in the East Coast
The Government hopes to finalise the ECRL by the year's end, with construction starting in early 2017.