MORE than 200 locals, including contractors, engineering consultants and suppliers will be affected by the planned suspension of the East Coast Rail Link project.
At the moment the employees are not affected as only the site project is stopped. Moreover, the ECRL construction work is still going on, and the Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) staff are getting paid as usual.
The work on the ECRL project – from the development of tunnels to procurement – was immediately suspended so as not to affect the progress of the project and construction costs.
Aimed at closing the distance between the east coast and the west coast, the 688km ECRL was estimated to cost RM55bil and be completed in 2024.
Some 15% of the project, which spans across four states, was completed when it was suspended.
Hundreds of suppliers of construction materials and more than 100 contractors are unable to start work under the shutdown order.
It is learnt that the affected suppliers and contractors hope that the matter can be resolved as soon as possible so that they can resume work.
The East Rail project was officially started on Aug 9, 2017. The seven-year project was originally scheduled for completion in 2024. Under the project, Malaysia has raised RM55bil from China, of which 85% of the loans were provided by the Export-Import Bank of China and 15% by Islamic bonds.
The project is divided into three phases, from the Klang Valley to Kuantan, Kuantan to Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Terengganu to Kota Baru and Tumpat in Kelantan.
According to the progress report of the East Coast Railway Project in Bentong Station as of April 19, the project directly created more than 2,000 jobs for the country, and the localisation ratio of employees (including all branches of China Communications) was 70%.
Recruitment plan for this year included 2,873 local employees, including 790 engineers, safety officers, and QA/QC positions; 2,083 people in over 40 types of jobs, such as steel workers, concrete workers, test workers, drivers, woodworking, plumbers, and welders.
The training programme was jointly implemented by CCCC and Malaysian Railway Link and Pahang University of Malaysia. It was funded by CCCC (RM23mil) to promote East Coast Railway Project and development of Malaysia Rail Transit.
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