KUALA LUMPUR: The renegotiated East coast Rail Link (ECRL) project offers plenty of opportunities to local contractors, including bumiputra, in public works like supplies and technical aspects, said Tun Daim Zainuddin.
He is even offering to help those who are qualified but “shy”.
Daim, the Prime Minister’s special envoy who successfully renegotiated the project with the Chinese government on April 12, said local contractors should seize the opportunities, with many attractive packages on offer.
“If you lack capability, you need to cooperate with foreign experts because many packages will be offered. It is possible for local contractor involvement to exceed 40% if the collaboration succeeds.
“I can see, maybe in supplies and technical aspects. They should discuss this with Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) and show their expertise.
“This is an international tender, so they need to be proactive. Don’t wait for opportunities to come knocking, don’t criticise without facts. Business people must move.
“See me if you are shy. I will help if you are qualified. Don’t expect the government to feed you.
“You yourself should prepare and go meet the industry players,” he told Bernama in an interview at his office here.
The ECRL project, started by the previous government, was suspended last year due to its high cost.
On April 12, MRL and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) signed a supplementary agreement (SA), paving the way for its resumption
Under the new agreement, construction of Phases 1 and 2 will resume at a cost of RM44bil, a RM21.5bil reduction from the original projection of RM65.5bil.
The rail line will have a new alignment cutting its distance by 40km to 648km and reducing its cost per kilometre from RM98mil to RM68mil.
On April 15, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that the SA would boost Malaysia’s participation in the project, from 30% previously to 40%.
The ECRL, said Daim, would not be a white elephant as it would carry 70% cargo and 30% passengers, with economic spillovers in creating job opportunities, especially for people in the east coast.
“This project is among the biggest for east coast folk and most expensive ever undertaken to bring about a balance (in development) between the west and east because all this while, they have been left behind.
“I have discussed this with the Terengganu mentri besar and will go to Kelantan later.
“We hope the states involved will take the opportunity to attract investors.
“This is an chance to use the opportunity wisely because this project is the biggest on the East coast, which is rich in culture, cuisine and investment opportunities,” Daim said.
Business and tourism sectors, he said, were among those that would benefit from the ECRL as the link makes economic opportunities and new jobs at each station and stop.
“If we can be successful on the west coast, why can’t we do the same for the east coast?,” said Daim, a former finance minister
The new alignment covers five states – Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Selangor and Negri Sembilan – and Putrajaya, compared to only four under the old alignment.