PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya's claim that it reduced costs after the re-negotiation of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project is confusing, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).
This was because the savings of RM21.5bil happened due to a reduction in the project scale, the MCA president said in a Facebook post Wednesday (April 17).
Dr Wee said the alignment and number of stations had been reduced and there was no tunnel from Bentong to Gombak.
"The tunnel into the Titiwangsa Range is very complicated, and that alone will cost between RM8 and RM10bil.
"There is also land acquisition, with cost depending on location. For example, the cancelled Gombak station is located in a fully developed area so the land is more expensive than in a distant area such as Kuala Klawang," said Dr Wee, who added on his Facebook post that he had spoken about this to news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT).
Dr Wee, who is also Ayer Hitam MP, accused the government of not explaining the specifications of the revised project to make it seem as if it had reached substantial achievements in cost reduction.
"When you compare apples with apples and there is a reduction in cost, that is a cost savings. But when you shrink the project specifications, there is no fair comparison," he said.
The Ayer Hitam MP also said that the cost would reduce if Barisan Nasional set lower specifications for the project.
"There is no meaning for anyone to say that Pakatan Harapan (PH) reduced the cost per km from RM95.5mil to RM68.7mil when there is no comparison base.
"If you usually buy grouper fish from the market and then one day decide to buy mackerel, you cannot say you are saving money. Both are fish, but they’re not the same."
Dr Wee said the government has to admit that they are shrinking the project.
He added that when PH leaders criticised the project during Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration, they claimed the actual cost of the project was only RM29 billion.
"However, now the cost is RM44 billion. Despite that, it is because of the reduced scope," he said.
Dr Wee added that he does not oppose efforts to save costs, but it should not deceive the public.