SEREMBAN: The government will continue to rehabilitate the existing Gemas-Tumpat single track railway line and improve the road network in the east coast states following the decision to scrap the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).
Transport Minister Anthony Loke (pic) gave an assurance that these states would not be neglected despite the government’s decision to axe ECRL.
“The decision to scrap the ECRL was made by the Cabinet due to cost factor,” he said after distributing Jalur Gemailng to motorists in conjunction with Merdeka Day in Mantin near here.
“But I would like to give an assurance to those in the east coast that we will never neglect you.”
Loke said once rehabilitated, passenger movement along the existing Gemas-Tumpat railway line would be made even smoother.
KTM Bhd was forced to temporarily close the Gemas-Tumpat line after certain sections of the stretch, the signalling systems, stations and the Kemubu Bridge were badly damaged during floods in late 2014.
The stretch was only reopened in June 2016 following repairs but the number of services were limited.
On Tuesday, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced the cancellation of the ECRL project and two gas pipeline projects at the end of his five-day visit to China.
The Prime Minister said the projects only added to Malaysia’s debts and had to be cancelled until the country could afford it.
The ECRL project officially started on Aug 9, 2017, and was scheduled for completion in 2024.
The cost for the 688km ECRL was previously announced as RM55bil, but Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said in the Parliament recently that the actual cost was RM80.92bil.
On a separate matter, Loke hoped that all airlines have notified their passengers on any changes in flight schedules following the temporary closure of the airspace near Putrajaya in conjunction with Merdeka.
“Flights from KLIA and KLIA2 will be affected as the airspace will be closed to enable the air force to prepare for the event,” he said.
Loke said the Malaysian Aviation Commission and the Civil Aviation Authority have been informed about this.
Some 100 flights a day will be affected by a five-day air space closure from 9am to 10.30am.
Meanwhile, Loke said his ministry would have a new approach to manage the Automated Enforcement System (AES) for traffic offences once the Road Transport Department (JPJ) takes over from two concessionaires on Sept 1.
The ministry was in discussion with JPJ and other relevant agencies on this, he said.