PUTRAJAYA: The new East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) alignment will leave the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge and the nation’s silica reserves untouched, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Importantly, the new alignment will also prioritise cultural, heritage and environmental factors by avoiding the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge in Gombak, Selangor, the longest pure quartz dyke in the world,” he said when announcing the resumption of the ECRL project yesterday. Later at a press conference, Dr Mahathir was asked what the other considerations for the ECRL’s new realignment were, particularly between Port Klang and Putrajaya.He noted that one factor was to avoid the need to tunnel through the nation’s mountain ranges.
“Also, the material there is mostly silica, something that we can use for other purposes. So we don’t want to disturb that,” he added.
The new alignment for the ECRL would resolve issues with the Selangor government because there would not be a rail link between Gombak and Port Klang.
The state government had objected to the ECRL because the link from the integrated hub to Port Klang would cut across the 16km-long Klang Gates Quartz Ridge.
The Klang Gates Quartz Ridge is a quartz dyke within the Bukit Lagong-Kanching-Klang Gates region. It is the longest of its kind in the world.Formed almost entirely of quartz, essentially glass crystal, the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge stretches from Taman Melawati to Zoo Negara in Ulu Klang.
The area has five endemic plant species among 265 species found nowhere else in the world, including the rare serow.
The Selangor government has been lobbying for the ridge to be declared a natural heritage site.
On Sept 16, 2018, Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik was reported to have said that the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge was one of four sites earmarked for application to the Unesco Heritage list.
If the rail project were to cut through the ridge, it would damage the environment and jeopardise its chances with Unesco.