KUALA TERENGGANU (Bernama): Six East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) stations will be built in Terengganu, which proves that the state is not being bypassed in implementing the project as alleged by some parties, says Tun Daim Zainuddin.
The Council of Eminent Persons chairman said the people of Terengganu should not be upset or confused with the decision on a new alignment for the ECRL despite the reduction in the project cost by RM21.5bil to RM44bil from RM65.5bil previously.
"The plan is that there will be six stations in Terengganu. There will be the passenger, cargo and also passenger-cum-cargo stations but I can't remember all.
"The ECRL will pass through Terengganu. It won't bypass the state (to reach Mentakab)," said Daim who was in Terengganu for the Darul Iman Talk titled, "Bumiputra Economy: National Agenda", on Sunday (April 14).
Based on the proposed new ECRL alignment, the six stations in Terengganu will be Chukai, Kemasik, Dungun, Pengkalan Berangan, Kuala Terengganu and Kampung Raja.
The ECRL project will resume following the signing of a supplementary agreement (SA) between Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC).
Besides the reduced cost, the new alignment from Kota Baru-Mentakab-Jelebu-Kuala Kelawang-Bangi/Kajang-Putrajaya and to Port Klang will also see a reduced distance to 648km from the original 688km.
Daim said the SA between MRL and CCCC would see increased involvement of local contractors to 40% from 30% before this.
He said the project would also spur the growth of ancillary industries like homestay and retail businesses when ready.
"We will see a lot of involvement of big and small businesses.
"This opportunity will be a good test for entrepreneurs in Terengganu and elsewhere in the east coast that they are capable of meeting the demand and competing," he added.
On the future of Malay entrepreneurs, Daim, a former finance minister, said change can only be made through education, and they should not be too dependent on government assistance.
He also said that they should have courage and think out of the box to be able to compete at international level.
"When we talk about the economy and bumiputra agenda, we should start with education but we cannot stop just there.
"Education should be promoted and practised as a lifelong learning process and our thinking should also change, otherwise we will stagnate," he said. - Bernama